Project RESCUE

Reducing Elevated Stress from COVID-19 Exposure
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Pregnancy can be a very stressful time. We’re here to help!

Project RESCUE stands for Reducing Elevated Stress from COVID-19 Exposure, and most of the study interventions can be done from the comfort of your home. In this research study, our team will leverage its mastery of sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging studies to identify the risks of COVID-19-related maternal psychological distress changing how your baby’s brain develops during pregnancy and after birth. This important study aims to answer many pressing questions. With your help, we’ll conduct multiple MR imaging studies. We’ll perform clinical, genetic, environmental, physiological, behavioral and neuropsychiatric evaluations starting during pregnancy and continuing through the time your child is a preschooler. Because your health and your infant’s well-being are our No. 1 priority, we are working with community partners to weave a comprehensive safety net that strengthens maternal mental health, boosts parental resiliency and enriches infants’ early environment to offset harms experienced in the womb.

Read the Flyer
Read the Postnatal Flyer
View the CNN Article

Contact Us to Join our RESCUE Study
+1 202.476.3842

2021 Pre-Summit Discussion: Combatting COVID 19 Stress

Heightened anxiety, stress, and depression during pregnancy can pose risks to unborn fetuses, a public health dilemma that was exacerbated by the pandemic. Tune in to today’s pre-summit discussion to hear more about the Developing Brain Institute at Children’s National and tools for stress management in a time when those tools needed the most.


When Project RESCUE: Reducing Elevated Stress from COVID-19 Exposure is complete, our team will know the unique impact of multiple stressors for pregnant women giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic and for their offspring. And we’ll know whether earlier, targeted stress-reduction interventions help to reduce those negative impacts.

  • Study participants will have no health risk factors outside of living/being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Who can participate
Pregnant women of all races and ethnic backgrounds who are older than 18 years with a singleton pregnancy of 8 weeks gestation or greater. Study participants will have no health risk factors outside of living/being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who may not participate
Pregnant women:

• Whose fetuses have known chromosomal syndromic conditions.

• Who are unable to enter the MRI scanner for physical or psychological reasons.

• Who do not meet standard criteria for MRI safety.

• Whose health conditions make their pregnancy high-risk, such as diabetes, hypertension or placental disorders.
What should I expect?
You will complete a number of questionnaires to assess your mood and overall health and to measure physiological stress you’re experiencing. You will be randomly assigned to participate in a mindfulness and prenatal yoga intervention for either 5 weeks or for 10 weeks. You will complete these interventions and questionnaires via your personal computer/smartphone or tablet. You will undergo safe, non-invasive MRI imaging during your pregnancy and after your infant is born. After your baby is born, our team will perform developmental exams at key times in your child’s life.
Will I be paid?
Pregnant women:

Study participants will receive $75 compensation at each fetal MRI study visit and another $25 once all prenatal questionnaires are complete. Participants will also receive $75 for each developmental follow-up visit if it is ordered as a routine clinical assessment. All participants will receive a parking voucher for the garage at Children’s National Hospital at each outpatient study visit.