|There may be a sensitive window for developing stress responses.|
A mother's stress can spread to her baby in the womb and may cause a lasting effect, German researchers propose, BBC reports.
They have seen that a receptor for stress hormones appears to undergo a biological change in the unborn child if the mother is highly stressed, for example, because of a violent partner. And this change may leave the child less able to handle stress themselves.
Thomas Elbert, one of the lead researchers at the University of Konstanz, said: "It would appear that babies who get signals from their mum that they are being born into a dangerous world are faster responders. They have a lower threshold for stress and seem to be more sensitive to it."
It has already been linked to mental illness and behavioral problems.
(China.org.cn July 21, 2011)