Psychological stress is never good for your mental or physical health. In fact, you could get a number of diseases as a result of stress. When there is stress during pregnancy, it is even more worrisome. There’s a new study that reveals a surprising finding it says that prenatal stress can actually help your baby build mental resilience. Stress during pregnancy can enable children to deal with stress a lot better when they are older, according to this study which was conducted on pregnant women in violent neighbourhoods in Brazil. While researchers admit that there is more study required on the subject, this finding goes against what has been suggested by several other studies on the link between prenatal stress and children’s health in the past.

It could affect the size of the baby: Prenatal stress during late gestation can lead to reduced body size. Stress during early gestation could cause accelerate growth and increase the size after weaning according to the study by the Universities of New Mexico, Gottingen and German Primate Centre. This is primarily because these mothers have more direct exposure to stressors which lead to an increase in their stress hormones including cortisol.

Causes changes in the kid’s brain: Pregnant women in high-stress situations have babies with reduced efficiency in the neural functions. This could affect the brain development when the kids are older.

Could lead to slow fetal development: Long commute to work could also lead to a significant amount of stress during pregnancy. This could cause low birth weight. In fact, long commute to work during pregnancy was also associated with a decreased number of prenatal visits and hence reduced [prenatal care which ultimately affects the baby’s health.

Can cause weight gain: Pregnant mothers who are stressed have an increased risk of giving birth to overweight babies and it can also make the children more susceptible to developing obesity as adults. The study also found that if the mother lost her husband during pregnancy, the child had twice the risk of developing obesity in adulthood.