Stressful events affect pregnancy outcome

storm

Stressful events experienced while pregnant contribute to elevated risk for abnormal health conditions at birth. Pregnant women who lived through hurricane or major tropical storms more frequently had complicated labor.

60% of stressed out mothers have complications

Researchers looked at medical records from deliveries which occurred between 1996 and 2008 in the path of a major tropical storm or hurricane. They found that mothers in the storm’s path during the third trimester were 60% more likely to have a newborn with abnormal conditions. Evidence was less compelling for women in their first or second trimester.

However, the health event is subtle

“Probably the most important finding of our study is that it does seem like being subjected to stress in pregnancy has some negative effect on the baby, but that the effect is more subtle than some of the previous studies have suggested,’ explained Janet Currie, Princeton’s Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Meconium aspiration was one of the more common side effects experienced by these babies. This occurs when a baby inhales a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid during delivery. This condition, usually a sign of fetal distress, and other respiratory problems necessitated ventilator use for the newborns.

Event may help predict future concerns

“I think there’s every reason to believe that if you have a better measure of child health – like you knew this child was having breathing problems at birth – that might be a stronger predictor of longer-term outcomes,” Currie explained. “There’s a lot of interest in this whole area of how things that happen very early in life can affect future outcomes.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Princeton University

 
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