Study finds stress hormones fluctuate with mood during pregnancy
(Medical Xpress) -- While pregnant, women pay particular attention to factors such as diet and exercise to ensure their babies are born healthy and develop normally. New research from the University of Calgarys Faculty of Medicine suggests another factor women should pay particular attention to while pregnant−their mood. The findings were published in this months issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Gerry Giesbrecht, PhD, a psychologist and member of the Universitys Alberta Childrens Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health, was lead author on a study that analyzed how levels of the stress hormone cortisol change when mood changes in pregnant women. While cortisol levels naturally fluctuate over the course of the day, the study found that as negative mood increases, cortisol levels increase as well.
These findings highlight the need to better understand how and to what extent the fetus shares its mothers experience.
It goes without saying that depression or anxiety affects the pregnant mom but we have mostly paid attention to these effects during the post-partum period. But knowing that mood changes a womans physiology in ways that have implications for the fetus tells us that health-care providers need to start paying attention to mood during pregnancy, he says.
Cortisol is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body in both males and females. While its primary roles are to manage blood sugar levels, to suppress the immune system and to aid in the metabolism of specific nutrients, it also plays a unique role during pregnancy. Cortisol levels increase greatly during the final gestational weeks to ensure the babys lungs are prepared for birth. It is also vital for fetal brain development.
This information suggests that too little of the hormone could have developmental consequences, he says. It also suggests that too much of the hormone could have developmental consequences. Now that we know changing mood has a large enough consequence on cortisol that it could affect the fetus, we can start to look at how to use maternal mood to achieve good developmental outcomes for the fetus.
Giesbrecht says while they dont currently know what the consequences are when exposed to too much of the hormone, the study has paved the way for further research on the topic.
We have some sense of what happens when a fetus is exposed to too much cortisol, but we dont have a lot of evidence as yet, he says. Fiona McCord participated in the study while pregnant with her son. She says her participation came from her desire to help figure out the road map to a happy and healthy baby.
While pregnant youre constantly evaluating all your actions and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure your baby arrives happy and healthy, she says. I thought by participating it might help someone like me in a few years who just wanted to make the right choices for her baby.
The study followed 83 women, who were between six and 37 weeks gestation, by measuring cortisol levels in their saliva. Saliva collection was done at home over three consecutive days on a schedule that included upon waking, shortly after waking up and at various times throughout the day. The women completed a mood questionnaire at the time of each collection. To ensure no outside factors affected cortisol levels, participants were asked to refrain from consuming certain food products and refrain from certain activities prior to collection. Over 1,000 saliva samples were analyzed.
The study was funded by Alberta Innovates−Health Solutions and the Alberta Childrens Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health.
Provided by University of Calgary
- How pregnancy changes a woman's brain Dec 21, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers studying links between nutrition and fetal development Feb 28, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Stress levels for couples examined in study Jun 03, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- A fetus can sense mom’s psychological state Nov 10, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Stress in the womb can last a lifetime, say researchers behind new exhibit Jun 30, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
12 hours ago Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 4 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 0 |
Nervous about that upcoming job interview? You might want to take steps to reduce your jitters, especially if you are a man.
Psychology & Psychiatry 5 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Research by U of T Mississauga psychology professor Glenn Schellenberg reveals that two key personality traits – openness-to-experience and conscientiousness—predict better than IQ ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 7 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Parents naturally are concerned for their children's safety, particularly when there is news of a child abduction that happens close to home. Finding the balance between emotions and the "teachable moment" as parents talk ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new report on suicide in Ireland shows that suicide cases experienced a significant number (and intensity) of life events in the 6 months prior to their death.
Psychology & Psychiatry 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Ethnic background plays a surprisingly large role in how diabetes develops on a cellular level, according to two new studies led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
20 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Cinnamon: Can the red-brown spice with the unmistakable fragrance and variety of uses offer an important benefit? The common baking spice might hold the key to delaying the onset of –– or warding off ...
41 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Chinese and U.S. scientists have used virus isolated from a person who died from H7N9 avian influenza infection to determine whether the virus could infect and be transmitted between ferrets. Ferrets are often used as a mammalian ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
42 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
UCLA researchers examining outcomes for advanced heart-failure patients over the past two decades have found that, coinciding with the increased availability and use of new therapies, overall mortality has decreased and sudden ...
46 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Aortic arch pulse wave velocity, a measure of arterial stiffness, is a strong independent predictor of disease of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, according to a new study published in the June issue the journal ...
47 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0