Indicators of potential speech, language and communication difficulties

Dewey (2007)[1] noted that mothers who are highly stressed in pregnancy are more likely to deliver low birth weight infants. This is an indicator of potential speech, language and communication difficulties later in childhood.

Research by Taige, Neal and Glover (2007)[2] on the impact of maternal stress during pregnancy, indicates increased risk factors in the baby for:

  • anxiety and or depression
  • autism
  • behavioural difficulties
  • ADHD, or
  • substantial emotional difficulties.

They also suggest that sensitive parenting, including the use of infant massage post-natally, could allay these effects.

Lee et al (2007)[3] investigated the listening skills in unborn babies in mothers with hypertension and those without. Infants in the mothers with hypertension were more at risk of delay in their hearing and listening skills.

Graven and Browne's (2008)[4] research into foetal hearing suggested that foetuses of between 30-40 weeks who are exposed to intense low frequency sound such as television, machinery, or room noise interspersed with quiet and absence of voice will arrive at 40 weeks gestation with two months of language delay. This may impact on the child's ability to listen and attend as they grow and develop.

1 Dewey R A (2007) 'Psychology: an introduction' published on and also 'Psychology: an introduction' (2004) Wad Smith Publishing

2 Taige NM, Neal C and Glover V (2007) 'Ante-natal maternal stress and long term effects on child neurodevelopment: How and why? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry' 48:3/4 (2007) pp 245-261

3 Lee CT, Brown CA, Hains SMJ, Kisilevsky BS (1997) 'Foetal Development: Voice Processing in Normotensive and Hypertensive Pregnancies' Biological Research for Nursing. Vol 10. No2. 134-144 (2008)

4 Graven SN and Browne JV (2008) 'Auditory development in the foetus and infant' Newborn Infant and Nursing reviews

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