Economic hardship negatively impacts infant health

Harold Mandel's picture
A poor baby

Throughout the history of mankind cruel elitists among very wealthy classes of people have insisted if you have good intentions and try hard to do well in life being poor should not matter. People suffering in poverty have all along known this simply is not true.

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Cortisol can cross the placenta and result in lasting impacts on fetal growth.

Scientists have found that maternal hypothalamic pituitary adrenal-axis function is responsible for regulating production of the stress hormone cortisol. During pregnancy cortisol can cross the placenta and result in lasting impacts on fetal growth and development reported the American Journal of Human Biology.

A woman's socioeconomic status serves as a predictor her cortisol during pregnancy

This article offers a preliminary test of the hypothesis that a woman's socioeconomic status serves as a predictor of her cortisol during pregnancy and her offspring's cortisol during the early postnatal period. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether variations in cortisol contribute to the intergenerational inheritance of health disparities which exist within this population.

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It has been suggested by the findings in this study that maternal socioeconomic status impacts maternal cortisol in pregnancy and offspring cortisol reactivity soon after birth occurs. This presents us with potential long-term effects on offspring biology and health.

Women who are poor have increased cortisol levels during pregnancy

According to a new research women who are poor have increased cortisol levels during pregnancy and they give birth to infants who have increased levels of the stress hormone reports the University of Colorado Denver. This puts these kids at greater risk for serious disease later in life.

Cortisol in infants is associated to the socioeconomic status of their mothers

This is the first study to measure cortisol in infants and associate it directly to the socioeconomic status of their mothers during their pregnancy. Several previous studies have shown an association between cortisol levels in teenagers and adults and socioeconomic status. Study author Zaneta Thayer, PhD, assistant professor of anthropology at Colorado University Denver says this is the first study to investigate this relationship among pregnant women and their babies.

Cortisol is a stress hormone which is produced by the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal-axis. If cortisol is overproduced it can contribute to many chronic ailments which include cardiovascular disease and mental illness. This study has found that stressful social environments which are experienced by a mother impact her offspring. This is already detectable early after birth. An early origin in social disparity based differences in biological function is highlighted by this study. What this means is that keeping people poor or making them poor is tantamount to torture and murder of parents and children alike.

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