Mother’s Stress Affects Baby Brain
Scientists at University of Edinburgh has said that increase in stress levels in mothers can impact the emotional development of the infant brain. The study examined the levels of the hormone cortisol in the mother. Higher cortisol levels indicate higher stress the mother was going through which in turn affects the development of the baby’s amygdala, an area of the brain known to be involved in emotional and social development in childhood. For the study, scientists took hair samples from 78 pregnant women to determine the women’s levels of cortisol in the previous three months. The women’s babies underwent brain MRI scans. The higher levels of cortisol in the mother’s hair were linked to structural changes in the infants’ amygdala as well as differences in brain connections.