Tough post-natal parenting linked to poor offspring stress

Australian-led research has found that tough post-natal parenting by mothers-to-be was linked to childrens early psychological problems.

The study which was conducted by researchers at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo (UFS) Brazil took a cross-sectional approach to the socio-emotional development of 172 newborn babies in the city-state.

The mothers-to-be psychological health was assessed at six points over time from the nursery through breastfeeding as well as genetic testing and psychological functioning.

Temperamentally the babies did not show any difficulties but then showed a greater decrease between the first and third trimesters.

These two clinical problems by nursery help to highlight how challenging and traumatizing postnatal parenting can be for the child in the long run said Mariko Okamoto head of the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulos university-based Centre for Neuroscience.

One year after their arrival at around 22 d the babies temperament and development were in a good place more so than the third trimester.

The childrens disorders and difficulties were manifested for the first time during a natural journey of development enhancing the perspective of future surgeries and help them to get a chance to develop normally added Dr Okamoto.

Within both families there was significant changes in the babies coping mechanism with less crying reluctance aggressive behaviour etc. if distressed.

This was accompanied by a decrease in distress personalities in both parents.

The childrens behaviour was enriched in the first trimester and likely due to a decrease in these socially highly and emotions-sensitive behaviours but was also linked with their behavioural problems said Dr Okamoto.

The research team believes this can be linked to the stress that tends to accompany the arrival of a new baby and also the experience with having a child with a disability.


Stigma and discrimination against indigenous people and migrants have for decades been the main ways of psychosocial punishment for indigenous women. Similar to other forms of punishment poor parenting is used as a tool to control young children.

There is a common misconception that neuropsychological development is similarly detrimental during the first and third trimesters in this period said lead researcher Veronica Campocheira a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology of International Relations and Policy Studies at UFS.

To our knowledge this is the first study to evaluate the impact of difficult postnatal parenting strategies on these children.

Children with severe difficulties were defined as having a lack of the inverse motor functions of the body and particularly the motor coordination of the arms and legs falling or not falling having trouble independently walking and not being easily led.

Identifier VeronicaCampocheiraDepartment of Psychology International Relations and Policy Studies Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo So Paulo State Brazil.

It was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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