Stress During Pregnancy May Weaken Baby’s Immune System: New Study

stressed_pregnantThe Huffington Post reported this week on an intriguing new study that showed stress in pregnant women may result in a suppressed immune system in baby.

The researchers measured anxiety levels in pregnant women based on self-report and cortisol levels in saliva at 20 and 32 weeks gestation. After giving birth, the babies were tested for their immune response to the Hepatitis B vaccine. The Huffington Post reports that by 6 months old the babies who hadn’t yet gotten their third Hep B dose and had stressed out moms showed a weaker immune response than those babies who  had relaxed mamas.

Even more amazing is that researchers then further studied babies’ immune cells by exposing them to molecules designed to evoke a response and discovered that in babies of stressed moms, some cell responses were overly aggressive. “In other words, mom’s pregnancy stress doesn’t simply weaken the immune system overall, it changes the immune system’s components” according to The Huffington Post.

Just earlier this month I discussed another study that showed that stress during pregnancy is clearly linked to stillbirth. Given that I’m going through the process of selling my house and a major move I’m not exactly the most relaxed, anxiety-free pregnant lady at the moment. Could my stress level actually be negatively impacting my son’s immune system right this very minute?

Time to go put my feet up and do some deep breathing!

Source: The Huffington Post

Photo credit: iStock

Read more of Claire’s writing at Rants from MommylandAnd for even more silliness follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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