Unborn Babies Face Emotional Stress During Pregnancy Research Shows

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 31, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 31
, 2007

London, England (LifeNews.com) — New research conducted by doctors in England shows that unborn children can face emotional stress during a pregnancy as the baby’s mother faces stress herself. Pro-life advocates say the study has implications for abortion as society learns more about the amazing development of children before birth.

The British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists released the results of the study on Thursday and says that unborn babies as early as 17 weeks into pregnancy suffer from stress.

The stress results when hormones transferred from anxious mothers reach the baby through the placenta.

Researchers measure the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone in 267 pregnant women and took blood tests and amniotic fluid samples from the babies. The fluid is a good indicator of what’s happening because it’s mostly produced by the baby during the pregnancy.

The doctors found that when the cortisol levels rose in women a corresponding increase the in the levels in the amniotic fluid were found. The link grew stronger as the pregnancy advanced, the physicians said.

Pampa Sarkar, an OBGYN who was involved in the study, discussed the results with the Metro newspaper in the UK.

"We now need to carry out further work to unravel the mechanisms by which maternal stress affects the fetus, both during fetal life and through into childhood," she said.

Sarkar suggested that mothers to be avoid stress and have a healthy and carefree lifestyle during the pregnancy and that her partner and family encourage her and be supportive during the nine months.

Michaela Aston, spokeswoman for the pro-life charity Life, told the Metro that the study had an impact on the abortion debate because the stress levels were found at 17 weeks into pregnancy.

She said that meant that babies were liking experiencing negative mental health effects of worried or anxious mothers who had abortions up to 24 weeks, the legal limit in Britain.