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Pregnancy stress link to ADHD

Researchers claim a link between extreme antenatal stress and problems such as ADHD, childhood anxiety and mental ability.


Posted: 29 January 2007
by Sarah Lawson


Researchers at Imperial College have found a link which suggests that as much as 15 per cent of the cases of ADHD, impaired cognitive ability and anxiety in children, could be linked to stress their mothers experienced during pregnancy.

Stress hormones crossing the placenta
Studies have shown that when a woman is in an extreme state of stress, the hormone cortisol can pass to the amniotic fluid in which the fetus is living.
Researchers say that babies who were exposed to the highest levels of the hormone during pregnancy, show the lowest IQ ability when analysed at 18 months of age.

Everyday stress - nothing to worry about
Researchers were at pains to reassure women that normal levels of stress, experienced in all day to day living, were NOT at risk and that pregnant women should not unduly worry. (For example, dreams or daytime worries about the birth, or the health of the baby, or domestic financial arrangements, are completely normal for any woman in pregnancy.)
They cited experiences like domestic abuse - physical or verbal – and emotional cruelty or lack of support from the woman's partner during pregnancy, as greater causes for concern.


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stress, ante, cortisol, natal, pregnant, hormone, anxiety, adhd
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Discuss this story

ive just split from my babies father, when he found out i was pregnant thats when we started to argue all day every day. I left 2 weeks ago, and the stress has been major ever since, now im been threatened to court and everything. I currently stopping at my parents whose house is over crowded as is. I do worry that the stress i have had could cause some harm to my baby. Does anyone have any advice? thank u

Posted: 18/09/2007 at 11:40

hi there

I'd like to ask how are you, are you well and happy? Have you been able to sort anything out regarding housing? I only just saw your post or else I would have responded earlier.

Your baby can cope with alot more than you will think, so try not to worry too much-easier said than done I know. You will be coming upto the 6 month mark-so hows the bump? Is this your first? I guess you will be a little scared and excited all rolled into one. Le tme know how you're getting on anyway, be nice to hear from you.

take care hunny.x


Posted: 25/02/2008 at 19:45

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