Stress during pregnancy affects foetal development
"Learning to relax can help."
A report in The Journal of
Physiology reports that a woman’s inability to manage stress during pregnancy can cause significant harm in her
baby’s health, according to a new study.
Researchers found that increased levels
of glucocorticoid stress hormones in pregnant mice caused the mother to eat more but reduced the ability of the
placenta to transport glucose to her foetus.
"Together with previous work, the
findings show that maternal glucocorticoids regulate foetal nutrition. Higher glucocorticoid hormone levels in
the mother (as seen in stressful conditions), can reduce glucose transport across the placenta and lead to a
decrease in foetal weight,” explains Dr Owen Vaughan, the lead author of the
"Glucocorticoid levels in pregnant women
may determine the specific combination of nutrients received by the foetus and influence the long-term
metabolic health of their children as a result. This could have implications for women stressed during
pregnancy or treated clinically with glucocorticoids, if the mechanisms are similar in
The research showed that under stress,
certain genes in the placenta were modified. One of the genes shown to be altered in the placenta by maternal
stress hormones was Redd1. This gene is believed to signal availability of other substances, like oxygen, and
to interact with intracellular pathways regulating growth and nutrient uptake in other tissues of the body.
Future studies may prove this molecule is important in the placenta, in linking environmental cues to the
nutrition of the foetus.
Some stress during pregnancy is normal,
just as most other times in our life. But if it becomes constant, stress can take a huge toll on the mother’s
health, as well as her baby’s. Previous studies suggest that stress during pregnancy is linked with lower birth
weight and early delivery. Furthermore, chronic stress may also contribute to subtle differences in brain
development that affect the child’s behaviour over time.
The deep relaxation experienced during a
hypnotherapy session is very good at reducing stress levels whether you are pregnant or
Regular deep relaxation can also help a
woman to conceive when there is no physical reason for not doing so.
If you would like more information about
relaxing during, before, or after pregnancy
Just contact me for a chat and to find out how I can help you.