Prenatal developmental origins of behavior and mental health: The influence of maternal stress in pregnancy.

TitlePrenatal developmental origins of behavior and mental health: The influence of maternal stress in pregnancy.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsVan den Bergh BRH, van den Heuvel MI, Lahti M, Braeken M, de Rooij SR, Entringer S, Hoyer D, Roseboom T, Räikkönen K, King S, Schwab M
JournalNeurosci Biobehav Rev
Date Published2017 Jul 28
ISSN1873-7528
Abstract

Accumulating research shows that prenatal exposure to maternal stress increases the risk for behavioral and mental health problems later in life. This review systematically analyzes the available human studies to identify harmful stressors, vulnerable periods during pregnancy, specificities in the outcome and biological correlates of the relation between maternal stress and offspring outcome. Effects of maternal stress on offspring neurodevelopment, cognitive development, negative affectivity, difficult temperament and psychiatric disorders are shown in numerous epidemiological and case-control studies. Offspring of both sexes are susceptible to prenatal stress but effects differ. There is not any specific vulnerable period of gestation; prenatal stress effects vary for different gestational ages possibly depending on the developmental stage of specific brain areas and circuits, stress system and immune system. Biological correlates in the prenatally stressed offspring are: aberrations in neurodevelopment, neurocognitive function, cerebral processing, functional and structural brain connectivity involving amygdalae and (pre)frontal cortex, changes in hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis and autonomous nervous system.

DOI10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.07.003
Alternate JournalNeurosci Biobehav Rev
PubMed ID28757456