Stress during Pregnancy Affects Child Development

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A new study has revealed that stress experienced by mothers during pregnancy can affect a child’s motor development till adolescence.

The study involving 2,900 mothers defined stress as financial hardship, losing a close relative or friend, separation or divorce, marital problems, problems with the pregnancy, losing a job, and moving residences.

When the women were 18 weeks pregnant, they were asked to complete a questionnaire about stressful events during their pregnancies. They also completed another questionnaire when they were 34 weeks pregnant.

When the children born of those pregnancies were 10, 14, and 17 years old, they were assessed on their overall motor development and coordination using a 10-item movement test.

Co-author of the study, Beth Hands said “Given our findings on the importance of mothers’ emotional and mental health on a wide range of developmental and health outcomes, programs aimed at detecting and reducing maternal stress during pregnancy may alert parents and health professionals to potential difficulties and improve the long-term outcomes for these children.”

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