(Association between maternal anxiety in pregnancy and increased uterine artery resistance index: cohort based study)
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Although there are many contributors to fetal growth and birth weight, reduced blood flow through the uterine arteries, which may be caused by stress or anxiety, could partially explain why women who are anxious during pregnancy tend to have smaller babies. This is the conclusion drawn by Jernima Teixeira and colleagues from Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in their study published in this week's BMJ.
In their study of 100 pregnant women the authors found that women who were more anxious during pregnancy had significantly abnormal patterns of blood flow though the uterine arteries. They say that this suggests that the psychological state of the mother may affect fetal development and therefore birth weight.
Dr Vivette Glover, Reader in Perinatal Psychobiology, Centre for Fetal Care, Division of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, London
t: +44 181 383 3524 (Not available until the afternoon of Thursday 14 January)
f: +44 181 741 1948
or Professor Nicholas Fisk, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, London t: +44 181 383 5193