The Impact Of Maternal Stress On Baby’s Development.

Protect mum for baby’s mental health and well-being.

Write Mind Matters
5 min readApr 17, 2022
Photo by Andre Adjahoe on Unsplash

I have a four-year-old son with a developmental delay of around a year and a half, so at this point, he’s like taking care of a two and a half-year-old.

He has a speech and language delay and difficulties toileting, but other than that, he’s a breeze, an absolute blessing, and smarter than most kids I’ve known his age when it comes to empathy and figuring out how things work.

“There is ample evidence from the literature that justifies the association of prenatal maternal mental stress and elevated cortisol with delayed infant motor and cognitive development.” — Dr. Anita Nath.

My son was born six weeks early and I had been in premature labour six weeks prior. The father of my newborn son and one-year-old daughter was violent, and though we parted before I fell pregnant with my son, he remained in the home, I slept on the couch, and the violence escalated.

Psychological distress affects more pregnant women than pre-eclampsia and causes delayed or damaged cognitive and behavioural development in the baby, yet we continue to focus on mum’s medical condition with little attention to her psychological needs.

Children born from mothers under stress have an increased risk of structural and functional alterations to the brain, ADHD, conduct disorder, and impaired emotional and cognitive development.

A study published in June 2021, found maternal stress was related to pre-natal changes in the development of certain structures of the baby’s brain. Alterations to functional connectivity within the frontoparietal, striatal, and temporoparietal regions were found in 118 fetal brains with a mean age of 32.9 weeks.

Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash

Excess glucocorticoids, pre-eclampsia, prenatal stress, depression, and anxiety are all found to cause low birth weight and a…



Write Mind Matters

BA(psych), GradDipPsych(student), DipHlthSc(NatNut)|Parenting, personality disorders & trauma.