Prenatal stress and cognitive development and temperament in infants

  title={Prenatal stress and cognitive development and temperament in infants},
  author={Jan K. Buitelaar and Anja C. Huizink and Eduard J. H. Mulder and Pascalle G. Robles de Medina and Gerard H. A. Visser},
  journal={Neurobiology of Aging},

Prenatal Stress and Human Infant Development

Prenatal hormonal stress at the end of pregnancy seems to have a significant impact on the outcome of the offspring, which strengthens the ‘Fetal Programming Hypothesis’ stating that maternal mental and hormonal state in pregnancy impacts early human development.

Effects of prenatal and postnatal maternal emotional stress on toddlers' cognitive and temperamental development.

Prenatal Exposure to Stress and Stress Hormones Influences Child Development

The findings suggest that prenatal exposure to stress and stress hormones directly influences development of the fetal central nervous system (CNS), and Fetuses who are exposed to disregulated production of stress hormones display impaired learning.

Prenatal Maternal Stress and Neurobehavioral Development of the Neonate

Results showed that higher maternal prenatal stress predicted less optimal state organization in infants, and the relation between maternal stress and infant state organization could not be explained by race, socioeconomic status, maternal or infant age, parity, birth weight, infant sex, or mode of delivery, suggesting an independent association.

Influence of prenatal stress and postnatal maternal behaviour on child temperament and coping with stress

There is some evidence from both animal literature and human studies to suggest that maternal emotional well-being during pregnancy, as well as maternal behaviour during early childhood, can have

Maternal pregnancy-specific anxiety is associated with child executive function at 6–9 years age

High levels of mean maternal pregnancy-specific anxiety over the course of gestation were associated with lower inhibitory control in girls only and lower visuospatial working memory performance in boys and girls, and higher-state anxiety and depression also wereassociated with lower visUospatialWorking memory performance.

Developmental Origins of Infant Emotion Regulation: Mediation by Temperamental Negativity and Moderation by Maternal Sensitivity

The findings suggest that the development of infant emotion regulation is influenced by the ways that prenatal exposures shape infant temperament and is further modified by postnatal caregiving.

Maternal Prenatal Anxiety and Stress Predict Infant Illnesses and Health Complaints

This is the first evidence linking maternal prenatal anxiety and stress to infant illnesses and antibiotic use early in life, and replication is warranted, to the authors' knowledge.



Growth and development following prenatal stress exposure in primates: an examination of ontogenetic vulnerability.

Clarifying the period of greatest vulnerability to prenatal stress moves toward elucidating the underlying mechanism for prenatal stress effects and may lead to more successful intervention and/or prevention.

Prenatal stress and its effect on infant development

It is found that especially pregnancy-specific nxieties are negatively related to infant mental and motor development and women who experienced many fears during pregnancy have an increased risk of getting an infant with adaptational problems and difficult behavior in the first 8 months of life.

Repeated Social Stress during Pregnancy Impairs Neuromotor Development of the Primate Infant

It is indicated that sustained stress across pregnancy can have deleterious effects on fetal development, but a short period of stress, at least when restricted to midgestation, does not appear to adversely affect neuromotor responses of the young primate infant.

Does Prenatal Stress Impair Coping and Regulation of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis?

  • M. Weinstock
  • Biology, Psychology
    Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
  • 1997

Prenatal stress has long-term effects on behavioral responses to stress in juvenile rhesus monkeys.

The results suggest that offspring of mothers stressed during pregnancy may show enhanced responsivity to stressors later in life, and concur with rodent findings indicating that prenatal stress may have long-term effects on behavioral reactivity.

Long-term effects of prenatal stress on HPA axis activity in juvenile rhesus monkeys.

Results indicate that offspring of primate mothers stressed during pregnancy show enhanced HPA axis responsivity to stressors later in life, and concur with rodent findings indicating that prenatal stress may have long-term effects on H PA axis regulation.

Prenatal Stress Induces High Anxiety and Postnatal Handling Induces Low Anxiety in Adult Offspring: Correlation with Stress-Induced Corticosterone Secretion

Results suggest that individual differences in adult emotional status may be governed by early environmental factors; however, perinatal experiences are not effective in influencing adult memory capacity.

Adoption reverses the long-term impairment in glucocorticoid feedback induced by prenatal stress

It is found that prenatal stress prolongs stress-induced corticosterone secretion in adult rats, which was attributed to the observed decrease in central corticosteroid receptors; adoption, irrespective of the stress experience of the foster mother, reverses the effects of prenatal stress; and adoption per se increases maternal behavior and decreases the stress- induced cortic testosterone secretion peak in the adult offspring.


The existence of a fetal stress syndrome with adverse effects on fetal development, including deficient brain development, is suggested, suggesting a specific effect on brain development.