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Stress in Pregnant Mothers is Bad for Children's Health

Update Date: Jul 31, 2012 09:07 AM EDT

A latest research cliaims that women who are under stress during pregnancy, could have babies with weak immunity. The children could fall ill often up to the age of four years.

If you are pregnant, you better be happy. A latest research says that stress during pregnancy could harm the unborn child's health for years to come.

The study revealed that if the expectant mother undergoes major upheaval, such as a separation, it dramatically increased the chances of the baby suffering ill health by the age four.

It also found a strong link between mother's stress with chronic conditions in children and the researchers said that it is very important that women be supported at any stressful event during pregnancy.

The researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London quizzed more than 150 expectant mothers early in their pregnancy about any stressful event that was affecting or bothering them. The participants were again interviews a few weeks before they were to give birth.

After four years, the health of the children of the participants was checked and the mothers were asked to if their children had any kind of illness which was sever enough to be the child being admitted in the hospital.

The findings revealed that stress in pregnancy certainly could be linked with ill health in children. Also, stress during the initial period of pregnancy could be linked to asthma or infections such as tummy bugs, the British Association for Psychopharmacology's annual conference heard, according to Mail Online.

A possible explanation for the phenomenon could be that stress could bring in changes in the mother's hormones which could be bad for the immune system of the baby.

The finding "suggests the stress experienced during pregnancy induces biological changes in the unborn child that render it susceptible to the development of illness later in life," researcher Jasmin Wertz was quoted as saying by Mail Online.

"We often talk about the concept of the foundation years, about the first two years of life being really important. This is true, but it is crucial that the foundation years start at minus six months," psychiatrist Carmine Pariante said.

"Everybody expects you to be happy because you are pregnant - it's very, very difficult to go and say you are depressed. But a pregnant woman who is depressed actually attracts a lot of empathy and sympathy," Dr Pariante added.

Pariante also suggested that anti-depressants should be avoided during pregnancy since there is a chance of rare birth defect.

There have been studies before which have linked stress during pregnancy to lowered IQ level and increased chances hyperactivity, emotional problems and disobedience in children.

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