Mum's stress is passed to baby in the womb

A mother's stress can spread to her baby in the womb and may cause a lasting effect, German researchers propose.

They have seen that a receptor for stress hormones appears to undergo a biological change in the unborn child if the mother is highly stressed, for example, because of a violent partner. And this change may leave the child less able to handle stress themselves. It has already been linked to mental illness and behavioural problems.

The findings, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, are based on a small study of 25 women and their children, now aged between 10 and 19. And the researchers point out that the women involved in the study had exceptional home circumstances and that most pregnant women would not be exposed to such levels of stress day in and day out.

Furthermore, the researchers say the findings are not conclusive - many other factors, including the child's social environment while growing up, might be involved.


Source - BBC

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