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The Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) is dedicated to improving the physical and mental health of Canadians by empowering individuals with scientifically grounded information on the effects of stress on the brain and body.
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University of Calgary researcher and colleagues recently discovered that stress hormones fluctuate with mood during pregnancy, and has an effect on fetal development.

The study followed 83 women who were between their 6th and 37th week of pregnancy by measuring cortisol levels in their saliva, and their mood, five times a day, for 3 days. The results show that women’s negative mood is strongly linked to an increase in cortisol secretion.

This study has, therefore, strengthened our current knowledge on the role of cortisol in the relationship between maternal experience and fetal development. As noted by the researchers, it would be interesting to determine whether different stressors experienced by the mother have distinct effects on the fetus.