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Prenatal Stress Affects Children for Decades

Last Generation // October 22, 2021

Anxiety disorders and depression have become common among Americans. Studies reveal that children whose mothers had high stress levels during pregnancy may be more susceptible to these conditions. 

One study found that participants who had experienced abnormal levels of stress or inflammation in the womb had “poor stress regulation” 45 years later. “Prenatal stress…creates a vulnerability to [disorders such as anxiety and depression],” the study’s author explained. 

But the good news is that these effects aren’t permanent. In fact, a safe and loving environment, particularly in the first three years of a child’s life, can positively impact the child’s ability to handle stress. Adults, too, can learn lifestyle measures to deal with stress and help offset adverse prenatal effects.

Prenatal Stress Can Program a Child’s Brain for Later Health Issues,” American Heart Association,, May 6, 2021.