UCI News

Study probes link between prenatal stress, infant health

Stress is an everyday part of life, but too much of it for pregnant women can be detrimental to their…

July 29, 2009

Stress is an everyday part of life, but too much of it for pregnant women can be detrimental to their babies’ development. Researchers at UC Irvine are working with 600 Southern California women and their children to understand why. They’re investigating the correlation between prenatal levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, and infant/child cognition and behavior. Their Women & Children’s Health & Well-Being Project is among the first large-scale studies in the country on prenatal stress and child development. “This is a new area of study, and what we learn now will go a long way toward the creation of treatments to improve prenatal health,” says project researcher Elysia Poggi Davis.