How does a mother's emotional status in pregnancy affect the baby?

Dear Doctor,

How does a woman’s emotional status during pregnancy affect her child? Lydia

Dear Lydia,

Since the unborn baby is connected to the mother the emotional and physical health of the mother directly influence the baby. Everything the Mother experiences, is experienced by the baby. The emotional stress in a pregnant woman, causes increase in stress hormones. These also have an impact on the prenatal environment(environment inside the uterus) of the child. The fetus has increased heart rate. If the mother develops high blood pressure, due to stress, blood circulation to the baby is compromised affecting its nutrition and growth. In severe cases, it can be fatal for the baby.

In contrast, experts suggest that positive thinking during pregnancy, can shape the body, heal internally and help nurture a more healthy child. Positive maternal emotions at this time, can set the stage for the baby to have a calm and happy disposition later in life.