Prenatal anger effects on the fetus and neonate

Tiffany Field, M. Diego, Maria Hernandez-Reif, F. Salman, S. Schanberg, Cynthia Kuhn, Regina Yando, Debra Bendell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


One hundred and sixty-six women were classified as experiencing high or low anger during the second trimester of pregnancy. The high-anger women also had high scores on depression and anxiety scales. In a follow-up across pregnancy, the fetuses of the high-anger women were noted to be more active and to experience growth delays. The high-anger mothers' high prenatal cortisol and adrenaline and low dopamine and serotonin levels were mimicked by their neonates' high cortisol and low dopamine levels. The high-anger mothers and infants were also similar on their relative right frontal EEG activation and their low vagal tone. Finally, the newborns of high-anger mothers had disorganised sleep patterns (greater indeterminate sleep and more state changes) and less optimal performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale (orientation, motor maturity and depression). These data highlight the need for prenatal intervention for elevated angry mood during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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