Prenatal Effect on Our Stress Levels

September 12, 2011

During the World War 2 occupation of Holland, the Germans blockaded that country in the winter of 1944, thereby causing mass starvation and all the stresses that accompany this horrific state.

An exhaustive study has been done in recent years looking at the effects of that winter not only on the people who survived it, but also upon the children conceived during that winter. That time is called the “Dutch Hunger Winter” and there have been dozens of scholarly inquiries into the effects on fetuses. This gives us one of the most poignant insights into the effects of stress on unborn children. You can read all the findings on this site.

But here are some remarkable conclusions. The children conceived in the Hunger Winter have much higher rates of the following

  • Heart Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Renal disease
  • Headaches
  • Stress-related mental illness.

All of the above symptoms are recognized as classic results of stress. That means the unborn infants of those under extreme stress will be susceptible to stress’ effects also. To me, this is another indicator that we need God’s help to eradicate not only the consequences of our own actions, but to heal the legacy left to us by those who brought us into the world. God is the only perfect parent who can help us achieve the health and vitality we were meant to have. As it says in 1 Corinthians 6: “The body is the Lord’s and the Lord is for the Body”.



  1. would that apply to mothers who were not expecting a
    A pregnancy and for one reason or another did not want the child, to the point of overcompensating by showing affection when no real love existed?

    • Yes, Pegi…it would most certainly apply to that sort of prenatal situation.

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