Stressed Mothers and Offspring.
Female rats born to mothers who had been through stressful life events prior to pregnancy showed increased expression of the CRF1 gene (a gene that mediates the body’s response to stress) in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in emotional regulation and decision making. When the female offspring were exposed to stress, they behaved differently than female offspring whose mothers were not stressed prior to pregnancy. This finding is a part of a growing body of evidence that a parent’s experiences can affect their offspring, even before conception takes place.
Biological Psychiatry, November 2013