U of L researchers confirm link between pregnancy stress and health problems

By Geoff Smith (@GeoffSmithLNN on Twitter)
September 5, 2018 - 11:21am

LETHBRIDGE – Researchers at the University of Lethbridge, working with colleagues at McGill University, have found evidence that when pregnant women experience stress, it can lead to health problems in their children.

Dr. Gerlinde Metz is a neuroscientist at the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience. Working with nuclear magnetic resonance manager Tony Montina, their team of graduate and undergraduate students analyzed urine samples of 32 adolescent boys and girls whose mothers lived through the 1998 ice storm in eastern Canada. The research found higher risks of metabolic illness, including insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.

Their work is a continuation of research under Project Ice Storm, which was established at McGill after the ice storm to study nearly 180 pregnant women for the effects of prenatal exposure to stress. That has carried on with their children and their development.

The goal is that once risks to health can be identified, they can then be minimized through therapeutic interventions.

Their findings have been published in the journal Nature – Scientific Reports.

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