Research Reveals How Unborn Babies Feel Stress

The Journal (Newcastle, England), June 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

Research Reveals How Unborn Babies Feel Stress


Byline: Mike Kelly Social Affairs Correspondent mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk

RESEARCH carried out by a North East university revealed how stress suffered by mums-to-be is transferred to their unborn babies.

It showed that foetuses are more likely to show left-handed movements in the womb when their mothers are under pressure.

The work was carried out at Durham and Lancaster universities. Staff there said it highlighted the importance of reducing stress during pregnancy.

Lead author Dr Nadja Reissland, in Durham University's Department of Psychology, said: "Our research suggests that stressed mothers have fetuses who touch their face relatively more with their left hand.

"This suggests maternal stress could be having an effect on the child's behaviour in the womb and highlights the importance of reducing maternal stress in pregnancy. "Such measures may include increased emphasis on stopping stressful work early, the inclusion of relaxation classes in pre-natal care and involvement of the whole family in the pre-natal period.

"While we observed a higher degree of left-handed behaviour in the fetuses of stressed mothers than had been expected, we are not saying that maternal stress leads to a child becoming left-handed after birth, as there could be a number of reasons for this. …

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