Maternal mental stress 'can impair brain' of fetus with CHD

Maternal distress linked to smaller cerebellar and hippocampal volume in fetuses with heart anomalies

Psychological distress is common among pregnant women carrying fetuses with congenital heart disease (CHD) and is associated with impaired fetal brain development, new research indicates.

Stressed pregnant woman

In a longitudinal case-control study, researchers studied 48 pregnant women carrying fetuses with CHD and 92 healthy volunteers with low-risk pregnancies.

After conducting MRI scans between 21 and 40 weeks' gestation (74 MRIs from 48 fetuses with CHD and 149 MRIs from 92 healthy fetuses), they found that maternal