Extreme weather can stress pregnant women—and their unborn babies

Popular Science | 10/31/2012 | Staff
lukealukea (Posted by) Level 4
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The study enlisted 310 pairs of mothers and children, recruited from clinics that serve patients from around New York City. The researchers assessed the symptoms of depression in mothers, and mothers reported the temperaments of infants via a questionnaire six months after birth. The babies of depressed mothers showed more distress and fear, less smiling and laughter, and less “soothability” and cuddliness than those of mothers who weren’t depressed. The babies of depressed mothers who were pregnant during Sandy showed even worse temperaments, according to the study.

The researchers theorize that epigenetic responses to maternal trauma could be the reason for the distress in infants. “The combination of environmental stressors and biology may compromise gene expression and cause an excessive amount...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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