Bad for the off­spring

> Preg­nancy stress could neg­a­tively im­pact a baby’s health for years

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ZEST -

sup­port the growth and sur­vival of brain neu­rons, de­creased. The team also ob­served that the off­spring of stressed moth­ers, even though they were never stressed af­ter birth, fared worse in tests which as­sessed anx­i­ety and cog­ni­tive health, and had a lower abil­ity to learn than fe­male off­spring of mice who were not ex­posed to stress dur­ing preg­nancy. Although the re­searchers also found in­ter­est­ing changes in the male off­spring, the team is still work­ing on that part of the study. Com­ment­ing on what caused the health prob­lems, lead re­searcher Tamar Gur said: “We al­ready un­der­stand that pre­na­tal stress can be bad for one’s off­spring, but the mys­tery is how.

“More and more, doc­tors and re­searchers are un­der­stand­ing that nat­u­rally-oc­cur­ring bac­te­ria are not just a si­lent pres­ence in our body, but that they con­tribute to our health.”

Gur added that mi­crobes from a mother’s gas­troin­testi­nal and re­pro­duc­tive tracts are the first to colonise in a de­vel­op­ing foe­tus and in new­borns.

And as Gur and her col­leagues found sig­nif­i­cant mi­cro­bial changes to the pla­cen­tas of the fe­male off­spring of stressed mice, th­ese changes in mi­crobes could have had an im­por­tant in­flu­ence on health, even be­fore birth.

Gur also stressed that the find­ings do not mean that moth­ers are to blame for any men­tal ill­ness in their chil­dren.

In­stead, the find­ings should be used as an op­por­tu­nity to talk more about the im­por­tance of men­tal health, both in gen­eral and dur­ing preg­nancy.

“As a psy­chi­a­trist who treats preg­nant women, if you’re stressed or anx­ious, I think preg­nancy is a prime time for in­ter­ven­tion,” said Gur.

“And what’s good for the mother is also good for the baby.” – AFP

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