Stress is harmful to anyone suffering from it. However, the implications are more serious for pregnant women. A new study even went out so far as saying that pregnancy affects the generations down the line, and not just the mother and her children in question.
Stress gnaws at the suffering person like nothing else. It brings mental, psychological and even physical health complications. However, it is of a wholly different level when a pregnant woman experiences stress, since she carries inside of her another human being – it is two lives directly involved in the problem at hand, one of them being in a super-fragile and vulnerable position. A new study has pushed the implications further. Further into future generations to sprout down the line.
The study purports that the next four generations from the one pregnancy that met with difficulties because of stress are to bear the brunt of it all. This was what the researchers concluded when they subjected pregnant rats to stress. They were made to undergo such conditions during the later stages of pregnancy. They then examined the daughters that were born during their own pregnancies. This was done for 4 generations. It was found that the stress accounted for shorter pregnancies. Then, the daughters of the third generation whose mothers and grandmothers faced stressful situations also had short pregnancies. Furthermore, the third generation daughters whose mothers were not stressed, but whose grandmothers were made to undergo stressful conditions had shortened pregnancies yet again.
Mild to moderate stress levels were thus shown to impact negatively upon generations to come to pass. Does this imply that stress affects the expression of genes? Research has hinted at this, but the whole mechanism involved has not yet been deciphered.