Another week and another theory about mums and babies is published. The International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has just published a new study that suggests babies born by assisted delivery are 40 per cent more likely to be affected by emotional and behavioural problems, possibly related to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The study showed that babies born with the help of forceps or ventouse are more likely to have emotional problems, while those born after an elective caesarean had fewer emotional and behavioural problems and were found to be much less likely to suffer from anxiety, aggression and attention disorders at nursery. I find this study depressing to read. If I think back to the birth of my children, it was not the amazing moment that the pregnancy books suggest – I don’t mean the arrival of my children, I mean the actual birth itself. Why did I bother to endure the trauma of a ‘normal’ birth with some assistance, if studies like this suggest my children could be suffering from a range of emotional and behavioural disorders as a result. Mmm… as I had forceps and ventouse, does that mean my children will be doubly bad?
On the upside, research published by the American Psychological Association has scuppered the myth of baby brain and found that the brains of new mothers actually grow during motherhood. The popular belief that women’s minds turn to mush during pregnancy and birth is wrong and their grey matter actually increases. Hurrah!
And finally, a piece of research that I can put to the test. A study conducted in Finland has found that a child’s chances of developing allergies to foods such as milk and eggs could be linked to their month of conception. If in the 11th week, when the foetus starts to produce antibodies to allergens, coincides with April or May when birch and alder pollen circulates, there is more vulnerability to getting an allergy in childhood. The little rotter was born in May and is allergic to eggs.