[http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20030224-000003.html] Psychology Today, February 24, 2003 Worrying the Womb: A mother's anxiety can influence her baby Colin Allen Summary: Preliminary results link Mom's mental health with the development of her unborn child. The mindset of expectant mothers can affect fetal development, according to preliminary research. A new study, published in the February issue of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, suggests that stress and anxiety can cause subtle changes in an unborn child's development. Mothers who showed higher signs of stress—such as high blood pressure—more frequently had fetuses with increased heart rates than did non-stressed mothers. In the study, 32 women in their third trimester took computer tests designed to evoke stress and anxiety. While all of the pregnant women showed higher levels of stress during the test, those who were also rated with higher levels of day-to-day anxiety had fetuses with increased heart rates. The study suggests that women should pay attention to their mental health during pregnancy. Still, lead researcher, Catherine Monk, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York, warns that the link between a mother's mind and her baby's health should not be exaggerated. Further research is needed to prove a stronger relationship.