Pregnant Mother's Stress Lowers Child's Intellectual Development
A new study suggests that children whose mothers were exposed to even moderately stress during pregnancy may show the effects in their intellectual development. Research has shown that significant stress during pregnancy may affect fetal growth and development, but less is known about whether this has long-term effects on children's cognitive functioning.
Study was aimed to assess intellectual and language development in 89 children who were 5 year old whose mothers were pregnant during an ice storm in Quebec, Canada that left several million without power for as long as six weeks. The researchers found that language development and verbal IQ tended were lower in children whose mothers had faced the most stress during the storm -- living more days without power, being forced to stay in a shelter, or losing income, for instance. All other children were within the normal range for intelligence and language development, note the researchers, led by Dr. David P. Laplante of Douglas Hospital Research Centre in Canada.
However, it is not clear exactly why serious prenatal stress would affect children's intellectual development, according to the researchers. But the link held even when they factored in parents' education, income and occupation, which themselves were independently related to children's test scores. They add that more severe natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina or the 2004 Asian tsunami, may likely have greater effects on pregnant women and potentially, their children.The researchers concluded that more studies are needed to confirm that such prenatal stress can in fact program fetal brain development.
Tags: Children , Brain Development , Intellectual , Pregnant , Hurricane , Katrina , Tsunami
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.