Mother's trauma during pregnancy affects fluctuating asymmetry in offspring's face
Zadzińska, Elzbieta; Kozieł, Sławomir; Kurek, Marta; Spinek, Anna
Objective: Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of paired body structures is considered to be a reliable measurement of developmental instability of humans. The aim of the study is to examine whether the mother's traumatic experience during pregnancy results in an increase of the level of fluctuating asymmetry of the structures of the face. Methods: Average relative FA of six cephalometric traits was calculated in 269 boys aged 7?10 years from Lodz, Poland. The influence of experienced trauma during pregnancy on the level of the FA was assessed by multiple regression analysis allowing for others stressors during mothers' pregnancy. In order to assess which trimester of pregnancy of the experience of the trauma had an influence on the FA level, analysis of variance was used. Results: Boys whose mothers had experienced a traumatic incident during pregnancy were characterized by a significantly higher level of facial asymmetry at the age of 7?10 years (t = 2.74; p = 0.007). The experience of trauma by a pregnant woman was only one factor among other stressors, which significantly rose the FA level of the child's face (Beta = 0.182; t = 2.94; p = 0.004). The time of the experience of the trauma ? the first, the second or the third trimester of pregnancy ? had not any effect on the FA level. Conclusion: The experience of trauma during pregnancy can result in visible disturbances of development of offspring. A decreased level of cortisol is associated with psychosomatic disorders and may also be potentially responsible for disorders of homeostasis in the process of formation of such morphological structures of the face.