Human Biology:孕妇经济地位差异影响婴儿健康

据来自美国科罗拉多州丹佛大学一项新的研究证实:经济困难的妇女在怀孕期间会有更高的皮质醇水平,而她们生下的婴儿的应激激素水平也会升高,使婴儿们在以后的生活中面临患大病的高风险。

这项研究最近发表在American Journal of Human Biology杂志上,是第一项研究评估了婴儿皮质醇水平与婴儿母亲怀孕期间社会经济地位之间的关系。

目前,已经有几项针对青少年皮质醇水平和成人社会经济地位关系的研究,但这是第一次分析孕妇和婴儿之间的这种关系,研究报告的作者Zaneta Thayer博士说:这些结果对于健康差距如何可以跨代遗传,提供了新的见解。

皮质醇是由下丘脑-垂体-肾上腺(HPA)轴产生的应激激素,如果过量,将导致一系列慢性疾病包括心血管疾病和精神疾病的发生。对于在新西兰的64位怀孕女性,研究者Thayer发现,贫穷妇女在怀孕期间有较高的皮质醇水平,生下的婴儿响应应激的皮质醇水平也升高。母亲社会经济较低,婴儿有较高的皮质醇反应。

这些妇女在怀孕期间被评估19个重点应激标志物。这些包括典型的生活突变事件如失业,离婚,朋友死亡,身体或精神虐待。

其他问题包括:你有没有亲自被迫购买更便宜的食物?你有没有忍受寒冷,以节省取暖费用?你有没有利用食物银行或食物补助,因为你没有足够的钱买食物?你有没有新鲜的水果或蔬菜?你的衣服或钱是不是从社区组织如Salvation Army等获得?

结果发现:压力最大和物质匮乏的孕妇有最高的皮质醇水平,生下的婴儿有较高的皮质醇。我们的研究结果表明,母亲所经历的紧张社会环境,影响了她的后代。

对于如何最好地处理这些问题,仍然是复杂的,但研究人员认为首先要减轻压力。减轻压力的社会帮助是必要的,通过改善弱势妇女群体的健康和福祉则可能有助于改善子女的健康。

Early origins of health disparities: Material deprivation predicts maternal evening cortisol in pregnancy and offspring cortisol reactivity in the first few weeks of life

Objectives:Maternal hypothalamic pituitary adrenal-axis function regulates production of the stress hormone cortisol, which during pregnancy can cross the placenta and have lasting impacts on fetal growth and development. This article provides a preliminary test of the hypothesis that a woman’s socioeconomic status (SES) predicts her cortisol during pregnancy and her offspring’s cortisol during the early postnatal period among an ethnically diverse sample in Auckland, New Zealand to evaluate whether differences in cortisol contribute to the intergenerational inheritance of health disparities within this population. Methods:Maternal saliva samples were collected at waking and prior to sleep on 2 days in late pregnancy (34–36 weeks gestation; N = 55), and a subset of offspring saliva was collected before (N = 48) and 20 min after a standard vaccination at 6 weeks of age (N = 19). SES was quantified using a locally validated index of material deprivation, the NZ Deprivation Index for individuals (NZiDep). Results:We found that, after controlling for ethnicity and other covariates, women with higher NZiDep scores had significantly higher evening but similar morning cortisol, consistent with a pattern of chronic strain. Infants of women reporting greater material deprivation had elevated cortisol response to vaccination. Conclusions:These findings suggest that maternal SES experience impacts maternal cortisol in pregnancy and offspring cortisol reactivity soon after birth, with potential long-term effects on offspring biology and health. Additional research is needed to clarify how biological and behavioral factors in both the prenatal and postnatal period facilitate this relationship.