Prenatal stress could be impacting your baby for life, research shows

Negative prenatal stress may impact a baby into adulthood, research suggests

Prenatal Stress Impacting Your Baby for Life
Prenatal Stress Impacting Your Baby for Life

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)– Stress can cause a variety of negative health issues. If you’re pregnant, being stressed can also impact your baby. Now, new research shows this effect could last a lot longer than experts once thought.

Weight gain, swelling, back pain, mood swings. Pregnancy causes all kinds of physical and emotional changes, leaving many women feeling stressed!

Experts know that very high levels of stress during pregnancy can lead to trouble sleeping, headaches, high blood pressure, and a greater risk for premature birth. Now, a new study suggests that negative prenatal stress may impact a baby into adulthood.

Harvard researchers followed 40 men and 40 women for more than four decades. They found middle-aged people who had been exposed to significant stress in the womb showed poor stress regulation up to 45 years later.

Tests also revealed that male and female brains responded differently to prenatal stress. The good news is you can lower your stress levels.

A relaxation activity like yoga or meditation can help. So can eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep. If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, you might want to speak to a professional therapist who can help you work through your emotions in a healthy way.

In another study led by investigators from U.C. San Francisco, mothers who reported greater stress throughout pregnancy had infants with more health problems during their first year of life. For every one-point spike in reported prenatal stress, there was a 38% increase in infectious illnesses among the babies.


Contributor(s) to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Robert Walko, Videographer; Robert Walko, Editor. To receive a free weekly email on Smart Living from Ivanhoe, sign up at:

About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.