It is affirmed that intrauterine exposure to a major psychological maternal stress affect son longevity in adulthood

There is abundant medical evidence that exposure to adverse circumstances during the first few months of pregnancy can affect the vulnerability of the newborns in adulthood. Now, an article published in PNAS has assessed how the death of the father during the pregnancy could affect the health and life expectancy of the future child. To that end, the researchers evaluated how the death of 1.4 million soldiers during the First World War, when the mother was pregnant, could affect them. The results show that exposure of the mother during pregnancy to a negative influence, such as the death of her husband, could affect the life expectancy of the child born in these conditions.

PNAS  large study about newborns life expectancy concluded, that the mean loss of adult lifespan of orphans who had lost their father before birth was 2.4 y (95% CI: 0.7, 3.9 y) and was the result of increased mortality before age 65 y. Adult lifespan was not reduced when the father’s death occurred after the infant’s birth. These results support the notion that intrauterine exposure to a major psychological maternal stress can affect human longevity.


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