Stress in pregnant women 'causes gut health changes that damage the baby'

15 November 2016

A new study has indicated that pregnant women who are under stress experience changes in their intestinal health that can have an effect on their unborn children.

Ohio State University researchers carried out a study using mice, finding that pregnant animals exposed to stress appeared to undergo a change in the makeup of the bacteria in their guts and placentas.

These changes to the microbiome led to corresponding shifts in the intestinal tracts of their female offspring, with these microbial changes lasting into adulthood. In these offspring, a lower ability to learn and higher anxiety-like behaviour were both observed.

Although the subject requires additional research, it offers a further indication of the link between poor mental health in mothers and the future health of their children, while also suggesting that pregnant women with stress or depression should seek interventions.

Lead researcher Tamar Gur, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural health, neuroscience and obstetrics and gynaecology at Ohio State University, said: "More and more, doctors and researchers are understanding that naturally occurring bacteria are not just a silent presence in our body, but that they contribute to our health."

Posted by Jeanette Royston


Health News is provided by Axonn Media in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Axonn Media and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)