Study reveals long-lasting effects of stress on babies born during Superstorm Sandy

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Monday, October 24, 2022
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Families on Long Island took part in a groundbreaking study about stress in pregnancy after giving birth during Superstorm Sandy. Chantee Lans has the story.

CEDARHURST, Long Island (WABC) -- Superstorm Sandy hit the Tri-State 10 years ago this week and caused monumental changes for so many, including babies.

Families took part in a groundbreaking study about stress in pregnancy after giving birth during the storm.

Izzy Newman loves to move.

"He came into the world with a lot of drama, he couldn't wait to come in, he wanted to be here for the storm," his mother Celia Sporer-Newman said.

He was born at 7 pounds 6 ounces at LIJ Northwell in New Hyde Park four days before Sandy.

"Literally four hours before it made landfall in New York, we were sitting in the emergency room at Jamaica hospital getting blood work done," Sporer-Newman said.

Her story is one of thousands. WABC-TV was there, inside the NICU after generators gave out at NYU Medical Center.

Now at 9 years old, Izzy can't sit still.

"He says he has two modes: stop and go, there's no in between which is actually why the study is super interesting when the results started coming out," Sporer Newman said.

Sporer-Newman is talking about Stress in Pregnancy, or SIPS, a new study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, that looks at the mother and baby in utero surrounding Sandy.

"We knew Superstorm Sandy was coming, I can tell you I was super stressed," Sporer-Newman said.

She worked as a full-time paramedic until her water broke.

The study followed the babies as they developed into children.

"It described Izzy, the ADHD," Sporer-Newman said.

"Boys are much more likely to have a problem with behavior," said Dr. Yoko Nomura.

Nomura led the study. She's a psychology professor at CUNY Queens College and Graduate Center. She says boys are 60 times more likely to develop ADHD and girls are more likely to suffer from depression, stress and anxiety.

Celia and Izzy's story is far different from Jaymece and Jeremih. They also participated in the study.

Jeremih was born before Izzy - a month earlier than Superstorm Sandy. He has no signs of a psychiatric disorder.

"It's crazy. I'm just glad he literally just missed the mark," his mom Jaymece Pelzer said.

And as for Izzzy...

"Eventually we probably will have to get him diagnosed," Storer-Newman said. "We're not looking to label him right now but if he needs it though, for him to be successful, then we'll do it."

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