A January 2015 study shows that increased stress during pregnancy has negative effects on the development of the foetus. Researchers say this may have implications for stressed mothers and the long-term health of their infants.

A January 2015 study lead by Professor Abby Fowden of Cambridge University and published in the Journal of Physiology, found evidence that suggest high stress hormone levels during pregnancy, especially the latter half, lead to decreased nourishment to the foetus. This lack of foetal nourishment results in a smaller size foetus and can lead to increased long-term health risks for the child. In essence a mother’s state of mind during pregnancy could have a direct impact on her unborn child’s lifelong physical health.

Researchers looked at the impacts of stress on pregnant mice by measuring the effects of the stress hormone corticosterone. They found that even though increased stress levels in the latter half of pregnancy lead the mouse to eat more, reduced levels of nutrients were delivered to the foetus. Though more study is needed, the researchers believe that their findings have implications for women stressed during pregnancy and the heath of their infants.

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