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Is stress in pregnancy transmitted to babies?

By on Sep 26, 2012

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A pregnant woman can pass on her stress to her unborn child through the placenta. According to researchers, this can lead to disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which are more common and serious in male offspring. Read on to learn more about stress in pregnancy…

Dr Tracy Bale, lead researcher from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the U.S said, “Almost everything experienced by a woman during a pregnancy has to interact with the placenta in order to transmit to the foetus.”

The researchers found a marker that appears to signal to the foetus that its mother experienced stress. Research was conducted on female mice that were exposed to mild stresses during the first week of pregnancy.

Stress in pregnancy can affect your unborn babyAn enzyme called OGT was found to be present at lower levels in the placentas of the stressed mice than in the unstressed mice. Research also found that male offspring had lower natural levels of OGT than the female offspring. Further investigation also found that lower levels of OGT affected changes in over 370 genes in the brains of unborn mice.

Researchers suggest that these findings are likely to translateto humans.  These results suggest that OGT may protect the brain during pregnancy.

“We want to get to the point where we can predict the occurrence of neuro-developmental disease,’ said Dr Bale.

“If we have a marker for exposure, we can meld that with what we know about the genetic profiles that predispose individuals to these conditions and keep a close eye on children who have increased risks.”

There are a number of natural remedies and exercises thatcan help to reduce stress levels during pregnancy. These natural treatments are extremely safe, but should be done under professional supervision. Homeopathy can help to gently treat stress and many other conditions during pregnancy. Please consult a qualified homeopath or a homeopathic pharmacist with your specific symptoms. This will enable the homeopath to prescribe the most accurate remedy for your symptoms.

Nutritional supplements that contain B vitamins can also help reduce levels of stress during pregnancy. You should consult your GP or pharmacist before starting nutritional supplements.

Exercises such as yoga can help to increase relaxation,muscle strength and tone, and improve breathing techniques during pregnancy.  Many yoga practitioners offer classes exclusively for pregnant women.

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