Expectant mothers in West Virginia excitedly anticipate the arrival of their babies. However, it’s been found that women who experience high levels of trauma while carrying boys are more likely to give birth to smaller babies.
Research shows smaller boys born when trauma occurs during pregnancy
A study performed by researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has found that boy babies are often much smaller at birth when their mothers experienced trauma during their pregnancies. On average, the babies could weigh around 1.3 ounces less than those born to mothers who did not experience trauma. The research indicated that this is directly related to the mothers having higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, later in their pregnancies.
Preventive measures to protect babies
Although it’s normal for everyone, including pregnant women, to experience some levels of stress in everyday life, the study showed that experiencing trauma in the later stages of pregnancy and having a history of trauma could both have an effect on the size and weight of boy babies at birth. Boys are more likely to sustain the effects of trauma faced by their mothers while in-utero.
When expectant mothers inform their doctors about the trauma they have experienced, it could be helpful in finding preventive intervention measures to protect their unborn babies. Any treatment regimen that might help could prevent a potential lifelong history of poor health in baby boys. Low birth weight has been linked to a variety of health problems.
The study’s first author pointed out that interventions such as treating the mother in ways that could improve her mood and state of mind might help prevent low birth weight in boy babies.
Pregnant women should always tell their doctors if they have experienced serious trauma. Treatment could improve the outcomes for both the mom and baby.