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How does emotional stress of the mother affect the child's development in the womb?

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purplebloom21 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 17, 2012 at 4:51 PM via web

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How does emotional stress of the mother affect the child's development in the womb?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM (Answer #1)

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Emotional stress is like any stress on the human body. During pregnancy, when emotions are already high, and the mother is sharing virtually all of her organic functions with the foetus, any imbalance of nutrients, vitamins, hormones, or other necessary nourishments will have a negative effect on the child’s development. Specifically, Vitamin B is reduced during stress, as are the female regulatory hormones; an acid-alkaline imbalance occurs with stress; the mother’s ability to resist infections and disease—the immune reactions of the body—are compromised during stress; further, blood pressure and other strains on the circulatory system, which is vital to the nourishment of the foetus, occur in stress; even irregular breathing, another symptom of emotional stress, can compromise the foetus' oxygen supply. It is easy to see how physical stress (lifting, injury, etc.) can affect the foetus, but emotional stress takes its toll as well, in the unbalancing of the physiological environment in which the foetus grows. Emotional stress does the same kind of damage as smoking or drinking alcohol.

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