BEACON TRANSCRIPT – There are many risks that can only enhance problems for the unborn child, but stress during pregnancy may result in a clumsier child, according to a new study. It’s not only food and drinks that severely influence the future development and health of the baby. Stress is a highly important factor.
According to researchers, this might even affect motor skills of the child in the future. In order to properly investigate the matter, they followed the progress of around 2,900 mothers in Australia. The mothers were primarily white, and were inquired about their stress levels during two different times in their pregnancy.
The first time in the 18th week and the second time in the 34th week, the future mothers were given questionnaires to complete about life events. Highly stressful events were defined as divorce, separation, financial problems, or grief due to the loss of a close friend or family member.
The participants were further divided into three separate groups. Those who had been fortunate not to experience any stressful events, those who had seen to three or less, and mothers who have experienced three or more. It was found that levels could be an incredibly influence on their children’s health.
This was especially pronounced toward the end of the pregnancy with the formation of the cerebellar cortex, which is responsible for motor skills.
The researchers then tested the mothers’ children at three stages during their lives, at 10, 14 and then 17 years old. The kids saw to tests measuring the strength of their hands, distance jumping, and various balance tasks, such as standing on one foot in sand.
According to their results, they found that mothers who had underwent high stress during their pregnancy (three or more stressful events) have given birth to babies who had poorer motor abilities. Their children presented themselves as much less coordinated later during their life. This can affect day to day tasks, such as writing, running, or throwing.
While there is no clear cause to be blamed on the effect of stress on the child’s motor skills, researchers believe it’s due to the hormone cortisol.
Researchers suggest investigating ways of providing early interventions before stress events can take their toll. It can severely influence the development of their child, which will be felt later on in life. It’s suggested that pregnant women could resort to light exercising to reduce stress levels, or perhaps finding different techniques to help both themselves and their future children.
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