Mom's stress affects baby

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Every wondered why your baby is the only one that doesn’t get soothed by being pushed in a pram?

Research from Dundee University shows babies travelling backwards in prams are stressed.

According to the researchers, this is probably because they cannot see their parent and therefore, feel alienated.

What else stresses babies?

Babies show higher stress levels if their mothers consume high volumes of meat during pregnancy, so a balanced diet is recommended rather than a protein-heavy diet.

According to British medical journal, The Lancet, babies are also more likely to show stress reactions at their eight week vaccination, if there were complications during their birth which required intervention.

Least stressed in that study were babies born by elective Caesarean section.

Pregnant and stressed:

It's been shown that maternal stress hormones cross the placenta as early as 17 weeks of pregnancy.

Among the effects of stress during pregnancy are low birth weight, and a slightly higher risk of the child developing asthma or schizophrenia.

A study conducted by the University of Warwick states that babies, who are born to stressed mothers, are likely to be bullied at school.

Professor of Developmental Psychology at the university, Dieter Wolke, says when one is exposed to stress, large amounts of neurohormones are released into the blood stream and when this occurs in a pregnant woman, it could change the foetus' own stress response system.

Seeing that these changes have an effect on behaviour and the way children react, when displaying a stress reaction such as crying, anxiety or running way, they become targets for bullies.

How to spot a stressed mother:

Think you're hiding your new mom stress well? Look which side your baby lies in your arms.

Most mothers, whether left- or right-handed, will cradle the baby to the left.

Research from Durham University has shown that mothers who are highly stressed are more likely to hold the baby with its head to the right.

Ways to reduce stress:

These are all good reasons to reduce the stress on yourself when pregnant and after the baby's birth.

  • Get regular, relaxing exercise, such as yoga, walking or swimming.
  • Delegate stressful tasks to others whenever possible and accept any and all offers of help from friends and family.
  • Catch up on lost sleep as much as you can. Rather let chores and socialising slide in order to get the rest you need.
  • Reduce expectations - you don't have to iron the sheets or bake fresh muffins every day in order to be a good parent.

What helps you, as a pregnant woman or a new parent, relax? Share your tips and tricks by emailing chatback@parent24.com.

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