How stressed you are during pregnancy can affect the health of your kid even when they grow up.
Researchers have found that unborn children who are exposed to severe stress levels, have an increased risk of becoming overweight or developing obesity as adults.
If the expectant mother lost her husband during pregnancy, her son had twice the risk of developing obesity in adulthood, the findings showed.
“Overall, our results indicate that stress can create a programming of the unborn child that makes it susceptible to putting on weight after birth,” said Lena Hohwu from Aarhus University in Denmark.
For the study that involved data from 119,908 young men in Denmark, researchers focused on women who experienced the death of a close relative just before or during pregnancy.
They subsequently followed the women’s male children until early adulthood.
Young men whose mothers had been exposed to bereavement had – depending on the relation of the relative to the expectant mother – different degrees of risk of obesity.
The researchers have previously shown that severe stress experienced by pregnant women can lead to weight problems for children between 10 and 13 years.
However, a correlation between the mother’s level of stress during pregnancy and the risk of developing overweight or obesity as an adult is new.
The study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.