Fetal Face Touching Linked to Maternal Stress

the MPR take:

Fetuses are more likely to touch their faces with their left hands if their mothers are stressed, according to a new study published in Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition. Fifteen healthy fetuses were scanned four times using both 2-D monochrome images and 4D color full frontal or facial profile ultrasound recordings from 24–36 weeks gestation. During these sessions, the mothers completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) questionnaire. After controlling for sex and gestational age, fetuses were more likely to touch their faces using their left hands when the mothers reported high perceived stress levels. Because high levels of prenatal material stress could be a risk factor for postnatal developmental disorders, the authors emphasize that reducing material stress in pregnancy is extremely important.

Fetal Face Touching Linked to Maternal Stress
Fetal Face Touching Linked to Maternal Stress

If these fetuses look flustered, it might be because they're picking up on mom's stress, according to a new study of 4-D sonograms. The study, which followed 15 moms-to-be and their unborn babies from 24–36 weeks gestation, found that fetuses were more likely to touch their faces with their left hands when their moms were stressed out.

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