PAS: Maternal Stress Tied to Lower Cord Iron Levels

(HealthDay News) – Maternal stress during the first trimester of pregnancy may put newborns at risk for low iron status.

Rinat Armony-Sivan, PhD, from the Ashkelon Academic College in Israel, and colleagues studied 140 pregnant women who lived in an area that was under rocket attack from December 2008 to January 2009. The stress group consisted of mothers who were in their first trimester during the rocket attacks, whereas the mothers in the control group became pregnant three to four months after the attacks ended. Maternal stress was measured using a visual analog scale.

The researchers found that cord ferritin levels were lower in the stress group compared with the control group (145.7 ± 61.9µg/L vs. 169.3 ± 85.4µg/L; P=0.06). The cumulative distribution of cord ferritin was also lower in the stress group than the control group. Subjective stress was significantly associated with cord ferritin in the stress group.

“Our findings indicate that infants whose mothers were stressed during pregnancy are a previously unrecognized risk group for iron deficiency,” Armony-Sivan said in a statement. “Pregnant women should be aware that their health, nutrition, stress level, and state of mind will affect their baby’s health and well-being.”

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