Effects Of Stress On Fetal Development

1978 Words8 Pages
Research into the effects of stress on fetal development first began in the mid 1950s (Wadhwa, 2005). Stress is an overarching term that can cover different areas and is something that is ever-present in life, it can be ‘acute’ and therefore only be small, or it can have serious effects on individual’s health and become ‘chronic’ (desAnges Cruser, Hall, Jones, Mummert, Mummert and Podawiltz, 2012). In relation to this essay stress is when our mental and physical state can be distressed by a reaction to a certain stimulus. When people react to these stimuli hormones are released (adrenaline and cortisol) and these move through the body causing a change in people’s states. Stimuli that can cause this reaction are known as stressors and…show more content…
Using a model in this way allows psychologists to investigate processes in ways that would not be allowed in a human because of the harmful effects that would be considered unethical (Shapiro, 1998). Using these models a range of effects of stress on fetal development have been discovered, these include: early birth, weight loss, and developmental problems in the early years of a child’s life such as talking, social and growth problems. This essay will discuss these effects with reference to both human and non-human animal models. The advantages and disadvantages of both models of data will be analysed with a decision being made as to which is the best model to assess the effects that stress can have on the development of the fetus both prenatally (before birth) and postnatally (after birth). The idea that maternal psychological distress has deleterious effects on the fetus is very focused on today. Both human and animal models can tell us a range of things. Human models are helpful at providing longitudinal data, which can help with long-term intervening methods. There are a large amount of reviews that indicate women who express greater distress during pregnancy give birth to babies earlier, that are lighter than normal and have a higher tendency to develop mental and physical problems later in life, than those who do not experience as much stress (DiPietro, 2004). Wadhwa, Sandman, Porto, Dunkel-Schetter and Garite (1993) conducted a study where they
Open Document