In a study carried out on English mothers, those who experience stress during their pregnancy are more likely to have children with health problems by the time they are 4 years of age.
Stress levels were reported to have been increased by life events such as divorce or separation, bereavement or big changes such as moving home. The number of times the mother to be was stressed during the pregnancy increased the chances and severity of their children being ill in the first few years of life.
The illnesses include asthma, stomach infections and symptoms of cold and flu, the rates of such problems were increased with the amount of stress during pregnancy.
The results of the study that was conducted by a team at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and reported at the British Association for Psychopharmacology’s annual conference. The research builds on an array of previous studies that have reported similar findings; some have reported that stress determines the gender of the baby; others have found that stress affects the brain size of the unborn baby as well as the premature birth.
The research highlights the importance of stress management during pregnancy, this can be achieved through support of family and friends close to the pregnant women. Additionally, it may be advisable that the woman learns mindfulness meditation techniques to help them combat stress and anxiety both throughout their pregnancy and throughout their child’s development.