Domestic Abuse Can Affect Unborn Babies For Life

July 20, 2011, 3:10 pmYahoo!7

Domestic abuse in pregnancy can leave a physical imprint in the brains of unborn children, say German scientists

Domestic Abuse Can Affect Unborn Babies For Life

A German study has reported that mums-to-be facing unnecessary crises during their pregnancy may leave an emotional imprint on their unborn child.

The study asked 25 mothers whether they had suffered extreme stress due to physical abuse at the hands of their partners and then rated their levels of emotion. They then tracked the level of a certain gene in the mothers’ children aged nine to 19.

The gene is called the glucocorticoid receptor and is part of the brain’s response to stress. The German research team found the gene is far less active in children whose mothers were victims of domestic abuse while they were pregnant.

Helen Gunter, of the University of Konstanz, said: “It changes the way that people respond to stress and they may have a reduced ability to respond to stress.

“Past studies have shown that children who have abused parents are more prone to depression later in life.’ Dr Gunter, who reported the findings in the journal Translational Psychiatry, said the study looked only at the extreme stress caused by partner violence.

“We did not look at the everyday stresses of working or having a family,” she added. “This study is very specific to abuse.”

The study researchers pointed out that the findings relied on the mother’s memory, and don’t prove that violence toward mums causes changes to the foetus’s brain, just that a link exists.

Dr Carmine Pariante, of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, said: “This paper confirms that the early foundation years start at minus nine months. We have known for some time that maternal stress and depression during pregnancy induce a unique response in the offspring, by affecting children’s behaviour well into adolescence and children’s ability to modulate their own stress response.

“This study shows that the glucocorticoid receptor, that is, the receptor for stress hormones, is subject to a key biological change that contributes to the organisation of this offspring response.

“This confirms that pregnancy is uniquely sensitive to a challenging maternal psychosocial environment – much more than, for example, after the baby is born.

“As we and others have been advocating, addressing maternal stress and depression in pregnancy is a clinically and socially important strategy.”


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  1. Scar the mute orifice12:59am Thursday 21st July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    yes, when mothers put their babies first, instead of government grants/allowances, the better society will be/

    2 Replies
  2. John Smith11:40pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    I remember my parents shouting every evening when I was in the womb.. 45 years later nightfall still makes me sad and afraid... I bet you do not believe it... Never mind....

  3. 11:34pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Dear, my nâme meaňs the place to connéct with bëautiful and succesšfúl people. Check it out and flirt with those ẘëalthý, handsome or beaútiful! love mean's more ! iiiiiiiii

  4. haidar a08:44pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Not to be worry Dr. Phill can fix that!

  5. Christine07:15pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Wish i knew this 23 years ago!

  6. ISC07:13pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Great article! Don't see any links for sufferers of depression tho' What's with that????????

  7. ME06:08pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    Currently pregnant with my first and it wasn't until going through being pregnant did I realize how much of a person the baby is already. Once the heart starts to beat (8 weeks) abortion should not be allowed. Baby responds by movement to a large amount of what I do from listening to music, eating, exercising the Dads voice. So much pressure on women will pregnant to do everything right definatly isn't enough respect out there for what they go through.

  8. U cant handle the truth05:31pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    So silly tarts should actually take some self responsibility for with whom they shack up with

    4 Replies
  9. nilesh p04:32pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    well well finally scientist and western world is beveling the effect on unborn babies by what pregnant woman listens, watches, feels, eats, drink etc.. any way Indian sages and Ayurvedic scolars knew this about 2000-3000 years ago and hence there a fantastic manuscript collection and big knowledge base written by Sages called "Garbh Samhita" Garbh= womb of pregnant lady samhita means knowledge of how,what,why and every other bit of info relating to topic. Here is another line from Garbh Samhita.. the time of day or night, weather, sunlight and mood and status of physical,mental health and feelings of male and female mating also effects immensely on what kind of human being will be born mentally and phsically. its fantastic epically big knowledge base about how Earth can have better human beings born.

  10. bexta7304:13pm Wednesday 20th July 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    All babies have rights, Including Unborn Babies

    4 Replies

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