ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

›› 2009, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (04): 753-758.

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Influence of Prenatal Maternal Stress on the Psycho-behavioral Development of Their Children

CAI Chun-Feng;ZHOU Zong-Kui   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China)(2 Hope School of Nursing, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430071, China)
  • Received:2008-09-18 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2009-07-15 Published:2009-07-15
  • Contact: ZHOU Zong-Kui

Abstract: Prenatal maternal stress has important influence on the development of their offspring. A significant body of evidence reveals that prenatal maternal distress negatively influences the emotional or cognitive development, resulting in an increased risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity, anxiety, and language delay in their children. One of the underlining mechanisms is the change of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the other is the activation of the sympathetic-adrenal system which caused by stress and anxiety. There are some methodological problems and unanswered questions such as the sensitive period and the sex-specific effects. Many important ways should be developed in this area of research. There is enough evidence now to warrant active research into prevention, intervention, and support programs to reduce stress or anxiety during pregnancy and their aversive effects on child outcome.

Key words: prenatal stress, psycho-behavioral development, underlining mechanisms, fetal programming hypothesis