Wow! This article just floored me. Had to read it several times just to make sure I got it straight. We know that a pregnant mom’s stress levels actually affect the unborn child’s ability to deal with stress after the baby is born. But what about dad’s stress levels?
Normally us males run around thinking what we do has no effect on the pregnancy other than what our DNA contributes at the time of conception. (Ok..maybe that’s not what is typically running through the male mind…) Drug use, smoking, poor lifestyle habits, environmental chemical exposure, stress. These are all factors that mom needs to manage or it will affect the baby.
There has always been a feeling that the male’s side was sheltered from this process. Research is beginning to break down this misconception.
In this particular mouse study, the male and female offspring of fathers who were put under chronic stress had increased stress and anxiety type behaviors as well as elevated levels of stress hormones. Not good.
Here’s where the story gets VERY interesting. These changes were not transmitted through IVF. Basically, if the father’s DNA was taken and used, the changes did not occur.
This means that the transmission is occurring on a much different level, likely one we do not understand yet.
While this is a mouse study, the implications for humans remain striking. Stress is likely not only transmitted through the mom, but also the father. Consider this in the context of todays’ stressful lifestyles.