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Domestic abuse: Does it affect children in the womb?

Living in Michigan and having a child there means a lot to you, so if you knew another way you could protect your unborn child, would you? This news discusses a way parents can keep their children safe from domestic violence, even before they are born.

A recent study discussed in a Dec. 16 news release claims that domestic abuse may actually affect children while they’re in the womb. The claim is made by researchers at Michigan State University. They claim that the study links the abuse of pregnant women to emotional and behavioral trauma symptoms in children 1-year-old and younger.

These symptoms could include things like avoiding physical contact, having trouble with bright lights or noises or being startled easily. A co-author of the study suggests that if this experience can be linked, then clinicians and mothers could potentially use the link as a motivator to get out of an abusive situation.

The study itself followed 182 women who were between the ages of 18 and 34. They had already given birth, so the study watched the women’s parenting styles and examined risk factors like their ages, income levels and other things. The co-author reported that cortisol levels could be higher in mothers under heavy stress, and that can cause damage to a child’s brain in the womb. That could be a reason for emotional symptoms following birth.

No person should have to go through domestic abuse, and getting out of a violent situation is the most important step to a healthier lifestyle. If you need help or want to know your legal options, remember to seek assistance from the authorities.

Source: Michigan State University, “Domestic abuse may affect children in womb” Dec. 16, 2014

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