The University of California has completed a study to see what the affects of stressed mothers has on their children.
69 women were tested to see whether the symptoms of their stress were picked up on by their babies. The women were split into three groups. In the first group, the women had to perform a speech to a room of disapproving people, and were treated with frowns and folded arms.
Women from the second group made the same speech but to a room of approval and encouragement. The third group performed the speech to an empty room as a control. The mothers were then reunited with their children whose heart beat and other stress indicators were measured.
The researchers found that the babies’ stress and anxiety indicators rose, proving that they felt anxious simply just being in contact with their stressed out mothers.
It is unknown exactly how the stress levels of the mother are transmitted to the child, but is likely to do with some form of facial recognition, tone of voice, or because of the scent of sweat from nervousness.
This means that if the stress of parenthood wasn’t enough, it is also contagious. However, this is only a recent discovery, and so it is unlikely there are any major impacts of this effect. But if you are feeling stressed out, it is a good idea to seek relief through things like mindfulness or yoga courses, for your own health.