The impact of maternal relaxation during pregnancy on the fetal nervous system
Over the last decades, there is growing evidence that increased maternal stress levels have an adverse effect on the physiological and neuronal development of the fetus during gestation with possible long-lasting effects.
Therefore, many studies focused on relaxation and stress during pregnancy and its effect on the fetus and the mother to prevent stress in pregnancy. Several studies showed that maternal stress also affects fetal endocrine processes during pregnancy and increases the risk for childhood and adult obesity. It has been shown that maternal metabolic stressors like gestational diabetes affect the heart rate variability in the fetus and can be associated with postprandially delayed brain responses.
This project is focusing on the effect of relaxation in pregnancy. In this international research group, The overall objective of this research group is to reveal the impact of pregnancy on socio-cognitive processes, brain structure and function, post-partum mood and mental health as well as its impact on fetal and child development. We are using a guided imagery or music for relaxation as stimuli in fMEG. Both conditions will be measured at two different stages at pregnancy: 29th-33nd gestational weeks and 35th –term. Additionally, we will assess the maternal cortisol level as well as maternal bodymorphometrics.
This project is a Mini Research Training Group in cooperation mit der University of Uppsala, Sweden. It is funded by the Center for integrative neuroscience, Tuebingen.