Study reveals women who gave birth to girls had higher levels of cortisol in hair samples in the weeks before and at the point of conception.
Immune cells in the uterus and placenta of stressed pregnant mice were not activated, but researchers found increased levels of inflammation in the developing fetal brain. Additionally, prenatal stress led to reductions in gut microbial strains and functions, especially in those linked to inflammation.
Prenatal stress can have an epigenetic impact on the future mental health of offspring. Adult children of women who experienced prenatal stress are more vulnerable to stress and other mental health disorders.
The prenatal wellbeing of first-time mothers has a direct effect on the behavior of children at 24 months. Mothers who experienced stress and anxiety while pregnant were more likely to have children who displayed behavioral problems, such as temper tantrums, spitefulness and restlessness. The children also exhibited emotional problems, including being clingy, tearfulness and unhappiness. Emotional problems were exacerbated if their parents experienced relationship problems during early pregnancy.
A new mouse study reveals pups of mothers who faced prenatal stress and who were exposed, by birth, to maternal vaginal microbiota had decreased body weight and exhibited increased stress hormones as adults.
A new study using non-human primates found infants of mothers who were stressed during pregnancy grew faster but had slower motor development than their peers.