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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 study. 


"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 humans. 


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 not. 


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.