In this article, we examine the pregnancy stress effects on baby. In a study published in the journal Infancy, researchers from Northwestern University revealed that pregnant women with greater fluctuations in stress during pregnancy (known as lability), had infants with more negative emotions like sadness, fear, and distress than mothers who experienced fewer variations in stress.
This study is one of the first of its kind. Researchers usually treat stress as a static phenomenon, something that they do not change over time. So previous research measured stress as low, high, absent, present, etc. But stress variability is inherent in our daily life. This innovative study analyzed the stress dynamism in mothers and its effects on babies’ emotions.
The research team measured participants’ stress levels using a questionnaire. They measured stress four times per day over 14 weeks. Researchers used three measures of stress in their study- stress at the first time of assessment, average stress during the 14-week period, and the change in the stress level from one point of time to the next during the study period.
Moods of the infants were also measured when infants reached three months old, through a questionnaire given to mothers. It measured the child’s mood like sadness, fearfulness, and distress.
The researchers found that the babies of mothers who had more variations in stress during the pregnancy period showed more negative emotions. But how the pregnancy period stress and the gestational environment affect the developing fetus is not yet clear.
Researchers said these are preliminary findings and further studies are needed in larger and more diverse samples. Also, the result is based on three month index and future studies should shed light on whether these findings hold in the first year of a baby’s life.
These research findings on pregnancy stress effects on baby provide valuable insight to us that the connection between parents and the child is not only based on genes but also based on experiences even before birth.
Tips: During pregnancy, you can do yoga as a comprehensive approach to pregnancy fitness. It helps your mind as well as your body. Yoga reduces your pregnancy period stress and improves body fitness. If you need a digital yoga class so that you can do yoga at home, Yoga Burn is a superb program. One off-topic pregnancy tip-avoid supplements during pregnancy.