Prenatal parental stress linked to behaviour problems in toddlers

A recent study has found a link between parent stress and couple conflict and behavioural issues in toddlers. Importantly, it found that both mothers’ and fathers’ stress and anxiety during the prenatal period was linked to externalising behaviours such as temper tantrums, hyperactivity and aggression.

On the other hand, postnatal couple conflict was associated with an increase of internalising behaviours, such as fearfulness, anxiety and unhappiness.

These findings are incredibly important because they highlight the need for both mothers and fathers to receive antenatal support. As health professionals, we need to help couples prepare for this transition into parenthood.

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