A study presented on April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston suggests that mom’s stress during the first trimester may result in low iron status for their newborn, putting them at risk for physical and/or mental delays down the road.
The research team, which was led by Rinat Armony-Sivan, PhD, director of the psychology research laboratory at Ashkelon Academic College recruited participants from Barzilai Medical Cente in in Israel who were about to give birth and questioned about their maternal health and were given questionnaires answering questions about anxiety, depression and stress during pregnancy. They were then separated into two groups — stress group and control group.
According to the article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “The first group of women (stress group) lived in an area where there were more than 600 rocket attacks (“Oferet Yetzuka” operation) during their first trimester of pregnancy. The control group lived in the same area and became pregnant three to four months after the rocket attacks ended.”
“Pregnant women should be aware that their health, nutrition, stress level and state of mind will affect their baby’s health and well-being” - Dr. Armony-Sivan
During the study, cord blood was collected from the newborns in both the stress group and control group and were tested for the concentrations of serum ferritin (iron) in the blood. 63 women and newborns were in the stress group and 77 women and newborns were considered in the control group.
The results showed that all the newborns in the stress group had “significantly lower cord-blood ferritin concentrations” than those newborns in the control group — a previously unrecognized risk group for iron deficiency. Dr. Armony-Sivan advises that doctors should consider additional blood work be done before the well-child visit at 12 months so that iron deficiency can be detected early before it becomes severe and chronic.
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