Session: 10

PS10-02 | The effect of chronic maternal stress on the neurocognitive outcome of two years old toddlers.

María Sol Molinet

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Klinikum rechts der Isar-TUM

Children affected by maternal stress before, during and after pregnancy may program their physiological responses later in life. In this study, we assessed the neurocognitive outcome of a cohort of toddlers exposed to prenatal stress (PS). In a prospective case-control study, German speaking pregnant women (~34 weeks of gestation) were screened for stress exposure using Cohen Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and classified into stressed (SG, PSS-10≥19, n= 40) and control groups (CG, PSS-10<19, n=44), matched 1:1 for parity, maternal and gestational age. Two years after delivery, infants’ cognitive, language and motor development were assessed by Bayley Scale III of Infant Development (BSID). Cognitive and motor areas showed no significant variation between SG and CG toddlers even when accounting for sex. However, language composite scores showed a significant decrease in SG toddlers irrespective of sex and language spoken at home. When day care center attendance (DCA) was accounted for, this effect disappeared. PS affects the toddler´s language development in both sexes, regardless the language spoken at home. DCA seems to protect for this neurodevelopmental delay. These results confirm the importance of early stimulation through social interaction for reversion of language delays in toddlers exposed to PS.