Effect of Prenatal Stress
Recent scientific research using large populations in the area of prenatal influences on the fetus have shown that high stress levels of the mother during pregnancy negatively impact the child’s early behavior and its ability to adapt to its new surroundings.
Anja Huizink’s doctoral study titled Prenatal Stress and Its Effect on Infant Development tested 170 first-time mothers three times during pregnancy and also periodically during the first eight months of the babies’ lives. She concluded that, when the mothers suffered elevated levels of anxiety during pregnancy, the children had adaptational and behavioral problems within that time frame.
Psychologist Vivette Glover of Imperial College, London studied 7,000 mothers and babies to determine the impact of increased maternal anxiety on the children at four years of age. She found that the children of mothers subjected to high levels of anxiety during pregnancy showed twice as many behavioral issues and signs of depression and anxiety as the children of non-stressed women.