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Why mums-to-be need to chill out

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If you’re expecting a baby—chill out.  Women who are stressed or anxious during their pregnancy can affect the cognitive abilities of their child.

By the time it’s a toddler, the child can experience emotional problems and have difficulty forming positive relationships, say researchers from the Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.

Its developing brain while still in the womb can be affected by the mother’s ‘toxic stress’, a persistent and heightened sense of anxiety, stress or depression.

Pregnant women who are suffering severe stress need help, the researchers say.  Prenatal clinicians need to identify the mums-to-be who need therapy to help them lower their stress levels.  “Early interventions could help mums reduce their stress, which can positively impact their symptoms and their baby long after birth,” said Catherine Limperopoulos, one of the researchers.

JAMA Network, 2022; doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.9244

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