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Stressed pregnant women are more likely to have children with personality disorders, study finds

We all know that stress is bad for our health in general and pregnancy can be a very stressful time.

However, new research has found that stressed expectant mums have an increased chance of having children with personality disorders later on in life.


Stress during pregnancy could lead to children developing personality disorders, study finds

A ‘first of its kind’ study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, claims that children whose mothers experienced stress during pregnancy are more likely to develop personality disorders later in life.

Scientists at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare studied the stress levels of 3,626 women in Finland between 1975 and 1976.

Of the babies which the women gave birth to, 40 were subsequently diagnosed with personality disorders by the time they reached the age of 30.

“This study highlights the importance of providing mental health and stress support to both pregnant women and families during the antenatal and postnatal period,” says lead author Ross Brannigan, from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Dr Trudi Seneviratne, chair of the perinatal faculty at Royal College of Psychiatrists, says this study shows the importance of mums-to-be having access to mental health support during and after pregnancy.

“If stress isn’t tackled, there is a high chance it will spill into the post-natal period,” she said.

“It’s a really sensitive thing to talk about. We don’t want parents to think they are damaging their children – but high levels of stress do affect us.”

How to reduce stress in pregnancy

1. Light exercise

Swimming, yoga and walking can help elevate stress.

For more exercises tips to help you de-stress download The Healthy Mummy’s FREE Birth Plan PLUS Healthy Pregnancy Eating & Exercise Guide HERE.

2. Spend time with friends

It’s important to socialise and spend time with your support network if you are feeling stressed. Sometimes a good chat is all that’s needed to feel better.

3. Meditation

The Healthy Mummy’s Mind. Body. Breath sessions on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge App is designed to help reduce stress and improve mood among pregnant women and early mums, enhance your connection with self-care practices and really thrive through the transformation of motherhood.

4. Rest

Make sure you get plenty of rest during this period – you’ll need it for when the baby gets here! It’s also a great way to unwind.

5. Get organised

You may be feeling stressed at the looming responsibility ahead of you or it may be a case of just getting mentally and physically prepared before your baby arrives.

6. Speak to your GP

If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, we recommend you speak with your GP or medical health care practitioner ASAP.

Get Support With The Healthy Mummy

When women support each other incredible things happen.

The Healthy Mummy has a LARGE social footprint and offers mums access to online support groups. From a Pregnancy Support Group, to a New Mum’s Support Group to even a Weight Loss Support Group…we have created judgement-free online forums to allow mums to connect with other mums to share advice, tips and tricks!

To find out MORE about our support groups or to join the other 100,000 mums in these groups, click HERE.


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