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Pregnancy Stress

June 15, 2006

If being pregnant in today’s fast-paced world is enough to stress you out, take heart. It may be a good thing.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
The upside of a stressful pregnancy. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A little stress during pregnancy may not only be harmless, but even helpful to the baby. This according to Johns Hopkins University developmental psychologist Janet DiPietro. She and her colleagues found that when mothers experienced mild stress and anxiety in mid-pregnancy, their kids had superior mental and motor skills by age two – whether or not M m was still anxious.

JANET DIPIETRO (Johns Hopkins University):
Secondly, there were no effects on how children behaved. So, it’s not that they were doing better developmentally, but there was no effect on things like how hyperactive they were, how they controlled their emotions, and so on.

HIRSHON:
She cautions that it’s still important to treat severe anxiety or depression – but everyday stress may be nothing to stress about.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.