Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Stress during pregnancy is associated with developmental outcome in infancy

Buy Article:

$59.00 + tax (Refund Policy)


Animal studies show that prenatal maternal stress may be related to cognitive impairments in offspring. Therefore, we examined whether psychological and endocrinologic measures of stress during human pregnancy predicted developmental outcome of the infant at 3 and 8 months. Method:

Self-report data about daily hassles and pregnancy-specific anxiety and salivary cortisol levels were collected in 170 nulliparous women in early, mid- and late pregnancy in a prospective design, in which healthy infants born at term were followed up after birth. Results:

High levels of pregnancy-specific anxiety in mid-pregnancy predicted lower mental and motor developmental scores at 8 months (p < .05). High amounts of daily hassles in early pregnancy were associated with lower mental developmental scores at 8 months (p < .05). Early morning values of cortisol in late pregnancy were negatively related to both mental and motor development at 3 months (p < .05 and p < .005, respectively) and motor development at 8 months (p < .01). On average a decline of 8 points on the mental and motor development scale was found. All results were adjusted for a large number of covariates. Conclusion:

Stress during pregnancy appears to be one of the determinants of delay in motor and mental development in infants of 8 months of age and may be a risk factor for later developmental problems. Further systematic follow-up of the present sample is needed to determine whether these delays are transient, persistent or even progressive.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Prenatal stress; development; infancy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Obstetrics, Neonatology and Gynecology and Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences, Netherlands; 2: University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences, Netherlands;

Publication date: September 1, 2003

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more