20 Jul 2011

Battered mothers' stress can affect babies in womb - study

9:32 pm on 20 July 2011

A study by German scientists has found that people whose mothers are victims of domestic violence while pregnant, are more likely to have behavioural problems and mental illness.

The study shows a receptor for stress hormones is altered in unborn children when the mother is highly stressed.

This leaves the child less able to deal with stress themselves in later life, which can mean the child is more likely to engage in risky behaviour and more likely to suffer mental illness.

The study, been published in the Translational Psychiatry journal and involved 25 women and their children.