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Are You Worried About Stress During Pregnancy? Study Suggests You Should Be – For Your Newborn

By Devan McGuinness |

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.

:: Are you worried about stress during pregnancy? ::

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Photo credit: Michael Melchiorre on Flickr
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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About Devan McGuinness


Devan McGuinness

Devan McGuinness is the writer of the lifestyle blog Accustomed Chaos. After surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan founded Unspoken Grief, a resource and support site for perinatal and neonatal loss. Read bio and latest posts → Read Devan's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Are You Worried About Stress During Pregnancy? Study Suggests You Should Be – For Your Newborn

  1. Kate says:

    While I agree that stress during pregnancy is not a good thing, I think that this is a huge difference from the stress that most of your readers will experience. Most of us living in the English speaking world do not have rocket attacks daily that we have to be stressed about. Our stress comes from work, responsibilities, and obligations. I’m not entirely sure you can extrapolate first world stress related infant problems from this study. But it is a really interesting study, nonetheless

  2. Drew says:

    Yeah, pretty sure that 600 rocket attacks provide a VERY different kind of stress than what most pregnant women experience. In fact, there are several studies that show that moderate levels of stress actually promotes good fetal development. It’s the severe stress (such as bombings, etc.) that lead to poorer outcomes.

  3. Sandy says:

    THIS is why I keep telling myself to stop reading Being Pregnant. Seriously? A study about women in a war zone, whose babies had a small risk of temporary iron deficiency… and the headline tells us to WORRY for our unborn children’s sake about stress, and the first paragraph summarizes the study as “stress during pregnancy could lead to mental delays for your baby.” This is awful science reporting at its worst and fear-mongering of the highest degree.

  4. Fiona says:

    I agree 100% with Sandy, the headline is a joke. ‘Are you not worried about stress, well you should be’! Seriously?! Ok great, I wasn’t feeling stressed, but now I am…. Shame on whoever wrote this article, while some of the information is certainly interesting, and of course stress needs to be minimised during pregnancy, the language and tone used should have been so much more helpful and responsible.

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