Pregnant Moms’ Stress Negatively Affects Their Children: Study Finds

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Pregnant Moms' Stress Badly Affects Their Baby

Brain News

A team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, explored how pregnant moms’ stress influences their children’s cell aging. The study is published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

The Study

In order to understand the link between maternal stress and child health outcomes, the researchers surveyed 110 white and 112 black women from ages 10–40 years. Their first-born children were also examined.

The Findings

The results revealed that the stress of pregnant mothers, particularly racism and financial stress during pregnancy (such as unemployment or poverty), is linked to accelerated cellular aging of children. Such cellular aging makes children vulnerable to several mental and physical health conditions.

One of the lead authors, Elissa Epel, elaborated: “Given racial health disparities and the role of stress in other important pregnancy health outcomes, such as birth weight and preterm birth, it is critical to support all women during this important period. We must work harder to identify women with high levels of toxic stress and social adversity to provide interventions that address not just feelings of stress and depression but issues such as food insecurity, financial strain, and housing instability.

To Know More You May Refer To

Mayer, S. E., Guan, J., Lin, J., Hamlat, E., Parker, J. E., Brownell, K., Price, C., Mujahid, M., Tomiyama, A. J., Slavich, G. M., Laraia, B. A., & Epel, E. S. (2022). Intergenerational effects of maternal lifetime stressor exposure on offspring telomere length in Black and White women. Psychological medicine, 1–12. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291722003397

Roubinov, D. S., Epel, E. S., Coccia, M., Coleman-Phox, K., Vieten, C., Adler, N. E., Laraia, B., & Bush, N. R. (2022). Long-term effects of a prenatal mindfulness intervention on depressive symptoms in a diverse sample of women. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 10.1037/ccp0000776. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000776

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