The research is discussing the effects of prenatal stress (PS) on the development of socioemotional symptoms as well as neurodevelopmental disorders. The study arises from existing literatures where a significant relationship has been established between prenatal stress and social deficits such as autism and attention-deficit hypersensitivity disorder among children and schizophrenia among adolescents. King et al. identifies exposures to environmental hardships and stressful events as the underlying factor in the development of PS (274). The aspect has a negative impact on the immune and endocrine system as well as neurological development (Charil et al. 56). Studies have revealed that PS affects several aspects of brain development in the fetal stage. It increases rate of cell death and reduces rate of proliferation in the hypothalamus-pituitary axis (Schoenfeld and Gould 15).
Fetuses undergo very important changes in the womb as they grow into full grown babies, and many factors can influence the way the fetus develops. Maternal stress, depression, and anxiety can have adverse effects on the fetus’ neurobehavioral development. In this review, the effects of the mother’s psychological state on the developing fetus will be discussed. Constant exposure to stress and/or depression can cause the fetus’ brain development to be effected, which can follow that person for the rest of their life. The prenatal period in a person’s life is one of the most crucial times in neurodevelopment, and it is also one of the most vulnerable periods they will encounter. Children who are exposed to maternal stress and/or depression
Per Broderick and Blewitt (2015), the hypothalamus and the limbic system (hippocampus, amygdala, septum, and cingulate cortex), all play a role in the regulation of emotion and stress response. As with other aspects of human development; genetics, nutrition, and exposure to teratogens can affect the development of these parts of the brain and emotional development. Per Glover (2013), maternal exposure to stress, such as anxiety and depression, daily hassles, bereavement, life events, bad relationships, and exposure to acute disasters can double the child’s risk of developing emotional and behavioral problems. While she cites the risk increasing from 6% to 12%, she asserts that this increase is of clinical
Maternal stress also plays a role in the prenatal development affecting the length of gestation. Most commonly, maternal prenatal stress affects birth outcomes including prenatal delivery. Emerging research suggests that measures of pregnancy-specific stress are better than measures of general psychological distress for predicting developmental outcomes including preterm delivery (Davis & Sandman, 2010). Goals from the study in this article investigated maternal cortisol and stress and how each affects cognitive and motor development. Women who reported having higher levels of stress during the prenatal period reported a strong correlation with cognitive and motor development were associated with a stronger correlation of cognitive and motor development in their children, and reported higher levels of stress and anxiety earlier in pregnancy. However, one could question the validity of this report because the information was self-reported.
During pregnancy, there are some factors beyond the mother’s control which can have negative significances for the fetus. Maternal stress occurs when the mother is exposed to psychosocial stressors during pregnancy (Kramer et al, 2009). The mother could also develop depression during or after her pregnancy. This mental illness affects the mother’s ability to function and cope with everyday life (NIHCM, 2010), thus affecting her relationship with her baby. Recent research evidence has highlighted that there is some overlap between the symptoms of maternal depression and stress (Cheng & Pickler, 2014), and that these play a role in affecting the normal development of the fetus. However, other research has indicated that stress and depression do not harm the fetus, and in fact can be developmentally beneficial (DiPetro, 2004). In this essay, a number of symptoms of maternal stress and depression shall be addressed, and the extent to which they affect the developing fetus. First to be discussed is how the emotional stability of the mother may affect the relationship she has with her baby.
Prenatal stress is an important topic to me; both our daughters are adopted from the same birth parents. The birth mother was addicted to heroin and was prescribed suboxone to help her with the addiction. Of course, she became addicted to suboxone, it is considered a wonder drug to combat opiate addiction. Suboxone is readily available as a street drug. My daughter experienced a great deal of stress in utero, not only from the drugs, but also due to abusive relationship between the birth mother and the birth father. The birth father beat the birth mother so severely in her 7 month of pregnancy, the state moved her to a hospital several hours away as a Jane Doe in order to protect the baby. It is probably the best possible outcome for my daughter as her health was monitored daily for the last 45 days of gestation. However, she was born addicted and required morphine for the withdrawals, she was in the NICU for thirty days in Seattle, I was with her during this time. My point to her history is that until the age of two she startled easily with any loud sound, and to this day if anyone speaks loudly or with an angry tone she becomes upset. Also, if anyone approached her unexpectedly she would flinch as if shielding herself. According to a 2012 Forbes article stress in utero can lead to ADHD and anxiety disorders. She has outgrown the flinching and
Approximately 740,000 women per year use at least one illegal substance during their pregnancy (“Birth Defect Statistics”). These substances can range from marijuana to cocaine. Premature birth is defined as the birth of a child on or before thirty-seven weeks of pregnancy. There are around 500,000 premature births per year (“Preterm Birth”). It is hard to directly correlate premature birth solely to drug use, since most women that use illicit drugs during their pregnancy also smoke and drink. However, a recent study shows that around sixteen percent of women that only use drugs during pregnancy have given birth to a premature infant, and these are only the women that admitted to using these drugs (“Causes and Risk Factors”). Negative effects
time. There are a variety of milestones that include ways in which a child plays, learns,
There is a unique connection between mothers and their children due to the crucial time of prenatal development. During this time, biological factors such as hormones pass through the placental barrier from the mother and into the fetus’ bloodstream. Additionally, the fetus senses the mother’s presence through sensory activity. For instance, a fetus often detects his or her mother’s heart rate and voice by the sounds produced. Due to the direct connections, mothers are strongly advised not to consume teratogens such as alcohol, drugs, or other substance that may be detrimental to a fetus during pregnancy. However, there are factors not quite tangible that mothers should be wary of during pregnancy such as stress. The stress hormone, cortisol,
Modern day technology has taken the “surprise” out of pregnancy for a large number of parents if they choose to utilize it. An option parents might explore is having a prenatal assessment to determine if there are any identifiable genetic abnormalities in the unborn child. There are risks associated with certain procedures such as false positive results, procedure induced miscarriages or possible fetal limb abnormalities.
The dream of every expectant mother is to give birth to a healthy baby when the nine months elapse. However, the culture of uncertainty among eager mothers has engulfed their thoughts of the possibility of giving birth to children with disabilities. As a result, they have turned to clinics for prenatal screening with a hope of getting a clean bill of health from medical practitioners about their current situation. All these efforts are not in vain in their minds as long as they are assured their babies will not have Down’s syndrome or any other birth defect. These frantic efforts pertain image of a society that dread disability. With the bold writings on the societal wall, people with disabilities have legitimate worries about the way in which prenatal screening is handled in our culture.
The prenatal period is commonly recognized as the time during which later behavior tendencies are developed. In the article by Jessica Tearne, the most serious problem with poor development in the prenatal critical period is that of poor mental health in later life. Environmental risks which can lead to the onset of mental disorders include maternal risks
Stress is a common issue that all people of all different backgrounds experience, weather it is environmental, situational, or family related it can happen to anyone. However, stress in pregnant women can be a health hazard for both the mother and the unborn baby. The baby can be born premature, have many organ developmental issues, and the mother can suffer from many complications as well. The connection
As illustrated in Figure 2, pCRH stimulates ACTH release in the fetus which signals the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Rather than inhibit pCRH through negative feedback as seen in Figure 1, cortisol stimulates production of pCRH. This can have lasting effect on the fetus. Throughout a woman’s pregnancy levels of CRH and cortisol increase which can be exacerbated due to chronic stress. As we discussed in our lectures, the hippocampus and hypothalamus have an abundance of reports for CRH and glucocorticoids. Elevated levels of CRH in the womb has been linked to learning and memory problems. In one human study, fetus exposed to high amounts of CRH were unable to differentiate between repeated tones and new different tones. (Stressed-out, or in (utero)?) This indicates that the high levels of CRH and cortisol can impair the part of the brain designated for learning and
At one time or another, most people experience stress. The term stress has been used to describe a variety of negative feelings and reactions that accompany threatening or challenging situations. However, not all stress reactions are negative. A certain amount of stress is actually necessary for survival. For example, birth is one of the most stressful experiences of life. The high level of hormones released during birth, which are also involved in the stress response, are believed to prepare the newborn infant for adaptation to the challenges of life outside the womb. These biological responses to stress make the newborn more alert promoting the bonding process and, by extension, the child's physical survival.