An intriguing link between levels of anxiety in pregnant women and the damaging effect on the brain of the unborn child will be shown this week in a new study of ambidextrous children.
Researchers have discovered that women who are very anxious in the middle of their pregnancies are significantly more likely to have a child who is ambidextrous or 'mixed handed', a condition associated with autism, dyslexia and hyperactivity. It is the first time scientists have found such a link, and they believe it may be necessary for midwives to tackle mothers' stress levels to reduce the effects on the fetus.
The findings are based on information collected by a project based at the University of Bristol which looked at the lives of more than 7,400 mothers and children. The research, by Glover et al., was published in Early Human Development 79 (2) 2004 as "Antenatal maternal anxiety is linked with atypical handedness in the child".