Stress during pregnancy linked to future behavioral problems in offspring

The old adage that the women should be smiling all thru her pregnancy so that the child born is smiling as well holds true even till date! Below is a research highlighting how the stress in mother can be appalling to the child-to-be-born?

Stress experienced during pregnancy is related to increased risk of future behavioural problems in children as per the new research. The analysis was undertaken on data from Western Australia’s long-term cohort Raine Study, which recruited nearly 3,000 pregnant women and recorded life stress events experienced at 18 and 34 weeks of pregnancy, as well as collecting socio-demographic data, according to a press release. The mother’s experience of life stress events and child behavioral assessments were also recorded when the children were followed up at ages 2, 5, 8, 10 and 14 years using a questionnaire called the Child Behaviour Checklist.

Massage and other touch therapies have been shown to reduce stress and depression in pregnant women.

Researchers from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research found that

–      common stressful events

–      financial and relationship problems

–      difficult pregnancy

–      job loss

–      issues with other children

–      as well as major life stressors such as a death in the family

All of the above, are linked to poor behaviour in offspring.

Mr Monique Robinson, lead researcher and psychologist said the type of stress experienced was of less importance than the number of stresses, and there was no specific risk associated with the timing of these stress events—early or late—in a pregnancy.

Thus it was found that the overall number of stresses is mostly related to Childs behaviour outcomes and two or fewer stresses during pregnancy are not associated with poor child behavioural development, but as the number of stresses increases to three or more, then the risks of more difficult child behaviour increase.”

7.6 percentages of women experienced six or more stressful events, according to the study. However Mr Robinson said that further research is required to ascertain the mechanisms behind how stress in pregnancy affects the developing baby, including the impact of maternal stress hormones, attachment and parenting issues and socioeconomic factors.


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