Prenatal Domestic Violence has Severe Effects on Unborn Child

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 19, 2014

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Violence During PregnancyA recent research has suggested that if a woman has become a victim of domestic violence during pregnancy, it can have a lasting effect on the unborn child.

This study which was carried out by the scientist at Michigan State University became the first to link abuse of pregnant women with the emotional and behavioural trauma symptoms in children within the first year of their life.

The symptoms of such children include nightmares, easy startling, feeling disturbed and bothered by loud noises and bright lights, avoiding physical contact and having problems with experiencing enjoyment.
Dr Alytia Levendosky, psychology professor and co-author of the study said 'for clinicians and mothers, knowing that the prenatal experience of their domestic violence can directly harm their babies may be a powerful motivator to help moms get out of these abusive situations'.

In this research, 182 mothers who were aged between 18 and 34, were studied. The finding of the study showed a surprising relationship between a mother’s prenatal abuse by a male partner and postnatal trauma in her child.

According to Dr Levendosky, the prenatal abuse could be a cause of changes in the mother’s stress response systems which could result in increase of cortisol levels in the fetus.

Dr Levendosky said 'cortisol is a neurotoxic, so it has damaging effects on the brain when elevated to excessive levels'.

'That might explain the emotional problems for the baby after birth.'

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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