Remaining stress- and conflict-free during pregnancy is almost impossible. But, new research appears to prove that being around raised voices while expecting a baby can have a long-lasting, negative effect.
Researchers at the Kochi Medical School in Japan found that verbal abuse from a significant other during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of a baby being born with hearing problems.
Scientists found that being subjected to shouting and verbal abuse can trigger a neuroendocrine change in the woman, which can decrease blood flow to the uterus.
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Decreased blood flow to the uterus can be associated with intrauterine growth delays that may well hinder the development of the baby’s hearing system.
“Maternal stress induced by verbal abuse from an intimate partner may have a negative impact on the maturation of fetal auditory function,” the study’s notes explain.
Further research into the topic is currently being conducted by the team as part of the Japan Environment and Children’s Study.
“Although verbal abuse is often considered to be not as severe as physical abuse because it does not leave visible injuries, our findings suggest that verbal abuse can have major negative effects on newborn auditory function and development,” the study authors concluded.
“Therefore, efforts are needed to reduce the incidence of verbal abuse during pregnancy to prevent delayed auditory maturation in newborns.”
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Researchers also believe that verbal abuse during pregnancy is more likely to cause a woman to experience postnatal depression than physical and sexual violence during pregnancy.
That follows research revealed last year that found there’s an increased risk of women developing PND if they have a baby boy.
In other pregnancy news, a midwife’s candid advice about what pregnant women should do with their pubic hair pre-birth won the Internet earlier this year.