The importance of pregnancy and parenting for positive mental health

Early nurturing and bonding experiences lay the foundations for positive mental health. Exposure to high levels of parental stress, neglect and abuse can have a severe effect on brain development of the foetus, both during the early stages of life and longer term.

The evidence shows there are distinct differences in development of children living in stressful households compared to those who live in less stressful environments: stress hormones can create a reduction in the hippocampus which has a significant impact on the children's emotional wellbeing, academic success, and memory processing.

Chronic stress also suppresses the immune function with studies showing a higher incidence of sickness in children exposed to chronic stress.

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