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Children of mothers who experienced stress during pregnancy may have increased abilities to cope with mental and physical distress in maturity, according to a study out of the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion and Ha’Emek Hospital in Afula reported by Globes.

According to Dr. Avi Avital of the Technion, pregnant rats exposed to stressful stimuli gave birth to offspring who reacted to stressors with reduced levels of corticosterone hormone .  Babies of mothers with low stress in pregnancy reacted with higher levels of the stress hormone.

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Furthermore, rats who experienced distress in utero showed less physical signs of distress during stressful situations than their previously non-stressed counterparts, and showed better survival instincts.

However, stress during the “childhood” of rats did not improve their abilities.  On the contrary, rats exposed to stress in pre-adolescence exhibited increased distress reactions in the years following.

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