During Pregnancy Stress Shortens Baby’s Life. Scientists from the University of California at Irvine have proven a direct relationship between pregnant stress and the life expectancy of an unborn child.
Stress during pregnancy affects the chromosomes of the embryo, which regulates the aging process of cells.
The study group consisted of 25-year-old volunteers of both sexes, whose mothers experienced severe stress during pregnancy: they lost a close relative or spouse, had a serious car accident – in a word, they were in a traumatic situation for the psyche. It turned out that the blood composition of the children of these mothers is somewhat different from the blood composition of adults born to mothers whose pregnancy proceeded in a calm environment.
The study of white blood cells (leukocytes) of volunteers showed that their biological age was 3.5 years (for women 5 years) higher than the age of volunteer cells from the control group that were born as a result of an unclouded pregnancy.
Shortening of telomeres, repetitive DNA fragments protecting the ends of chromosomes, testified to premature aging. Telomeres provide chromosome stability and are a kind of “clock” that counts the number of divisions in a cell. The shorter the telomeres, the “older” the cell.
It was previously proven that pregnant stress negatively affects the metabolism, immune and endocrine systems, as well as the cognitive abilities of the child. But the effect of prenatal stress on cell aging has been proven for the first time.