Stress, the microbiome and pregnancy: The protective role of omega-3 fatty acids

Article, Childhood Illness, Gut Health, Immune System, Nutrition, Parent Advice, Regenerative Health, Reproductive Health

By Rachel Benbrook ( and Dr. Michelle Perro (
A multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, doctors, and epidemiologists crafted a fascinating study that looked at how adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, impact the gut microbiome and stress response of pregnant women.
The paper on their findings, published in 2019 in the peer-reviewed journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity provide insights on the complex role our gut bacteria play in our physical and mental health.
The original work on ACEs by Drs. Felitti et al., was a landmark study of nearly 10,000 individuals that found that negative childhood events impacted their health as adults. The higher the score, the higher the risk of serious diseases such as autoimmunity, cardiovascular disease and cancer later in life (Felitti et al., 1998).
The gut microbiome consists of all the bacteria, archaea, viruses and fungi that call the human intestinal track home, and there are very, very many of them! There are about 10 microbiota cells for every 1 human cell in our body, and we are just starting to understand how these tenants help us with digestion, detoxification, immunological well-being and many other important biologic functions.
This research team built upon previous research on rodents that had shown that the gut microbiome appears to play an important role in regulating the response to stress, in particular ACEs. They recruited around 50 pregnant women who were “physically and psychiatrically” healthy and had them complete an ACE questionnaire. These women also provided a stool sample around halfway through their pregnancy, along with accompanying 24-hour food surveys that allowed the researchers to measure nutrient intake (Hantsoo et al., 2019).

Around 50 pregnant women participated in this study on adverse childhood experiences and the gut microbiome in pregnancy.

A subset of 19 women in this group also underwent a social stress test to measure their bodies inflammatory response to stress. This study design allowed researchers to look at the role of ACEs in the composition of the gut microbiota, and whether women with a poor response to stress also showed a different microbiome makeup.
The researchers found that pregnant women who said they experienced at least two adverse experiences in childhood did show changes in the microbiome composition. Additionally, “…such changes may contribute to altered inflammatory and glucocorticoid response to stress” (Hantsoo et al., 2019).
Given our interest in the role of nutrition in human health, we were very interested to read that an “exploratory analysis” of the data from 24-hour food recalls suggested that pregnant women with higher dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) had a reduced inflammatory response to stress.
As we report extensively, PUFAs provide a variety of health benefits. The high intake of unhealthy, omega-6 fatty acids found in processed and fried foods and grain-fed animal products that are the main components of the Standard American Diet (SAD), is one of the biggest public health issues of our time. A simple switch to 100%, pasture-raised grass-milk and grass-fed meats can make a big difference, as a grass-fed diet shifts the omega ratio in animal products and enhances both the quantity and quality of fatty acids in the resulting foods (see much more on this here).
But, this is the first study in humans that shows a potential protective benefit to the microbiome, and given the many important roles we are learning these millions of microorganisms play, this is yet another compelling reason to choose pasture-raised meat and dairy products when possible, especially if you have kids faced with stressful situations at home (say, an unusual schooling environment?).
While diet should always be the first go-to, supplementation with PUFAs offer enhanced neurological support during pre-pregnancy, infancy and childhood. Choosing quality sources of omega 3s is paramount when supplementing a child’s diet.
Felitti, V., Anda, R., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, A, Sitz, V., Edwards, M., Koss, J., Marks; “Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study”; American Journal of Preventitive Medicine, 1998, May;14(4):245-58. DOI: 10.1016/s0749-3797(98)00017-8.
Hantsoo, L., Jasarevic, E., Criniti, S., McGeehan, B., Tanes, C., Sammel, M. D., Elovitz, M. A., Compher, C., Wu, G., & Epperson, C. N.; “Childhood adversity impact on gut microbiota and inflammatory response to stress during pregnancy;” Brain Behavior and Immunity, 2019, 75, 240-250; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.11.005.

RFK Jr. supporters OFFICIALLY submit signatures for ballot access in Illinois

“They have over 60,000 signatures, over double what Illinois needs … to get Bobby on the ballot”

Illinois is the 25th state Kennedy qualifies for ballot access in, meaning HALF the states are now

Parental Alert: Please note. TJs has affordable organic produce. Let’s thank them for this decision and ask to decrease packaging:

Julian is free!!!!

Words cannot express our immense gratitude to YOU- yes YOU, who have all mobilised for years and years to make this come true. THANK YOU. tHANK YOU. THANK YOU.

Follow @WikiLeaks for more info soon…

Load More

V-Symposium Recordings:

GMOScience is offering these 2 days of recordings from April 2023 free of charge, featuring five of the top doctors, scientist, and attorney who are on the front lines, working with people experiencing adverse effects and injury from vaccine exposure and Long Covid. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation of any amount to support our work.

Contact Us


Related Posts

Get the Lead Out

Get the Lead Out

Time to Rock and Roll: Get the Lead Out!

June 2024
Michelle Perro, MD

We are at the fork in the road — do we really want to protect our children or are we at an attitude of platitude?

The Infant Formula Toxic Metal Study Getting Press

Moms Across America, The New MDS, and GMOScience, banded together and did the work of regulatory agencies. We’ve confirmed what officials already knew; infant formula, the only food for many babies, is contaminated and it has been given a pass.

However, this David and Goliath tale has not gone unnoticed and has been picked up by global news agencies, including Dr. Mercola, The Exposé, Children’s Health Defense, and The Townsend Letter. Additionally, the FDA has made recommendations to Congress regarding the Safe Baby Food Act based on our joint meeting regarding our findings in May 2024.

Millions of parents are now becoming aware of the toxic metal contamination in the formulas that they are feeding their most vulnerable and immediate action must occur to rectify this situation.

read more
The Alliance of  Censorship and Propaganda

The Alliance of Censorship and Propaganda

The Alliance of Censorship and Propaganda

June 2024
Michelle Perro, MD

Censorship and propaganda are intrinsically linked as tools of information control used to shape public perception and influence societal attitudes. Censorship involves the suppression or restriction of access to information, often to prevent dissenting or opposing viewpoints from reaching the public. This creates a controlled information environment where only select narratives are allowed to prevail. Propaganda, on the other hand, actively disseminates specific information, often biased or misleading, to promote a particular political agenda or ideology.

read more
Why Study Toxic Metals in Infant Formula? An Overview of the Results

Why Study Toxic Metals in Infant Formula? An Overview of the Results

Why Study Toxic Metals in Infant Formula?
An Overview of the Results
May 2024
Michelle Perro, MD
Article 3 in the Got Real Milk Series
The presence of toxic metals in infant formula is a critical issue that demands immediate action.
Public education is crucial to raise awareness among parents and caregivers about the potential risks and safety measures. Regulatory action by Congress is necessary to empower the FDA and other agencies to enforce stringent safety standards. Additionally, formula companies must take corrective actions to ensure their products are safe.
To address this issue, we are initiating a petition to urge Congress to remove any barriers preventing the FDA from enforcing these necessary regulations. In the meantime, parents can consider various supplements that may help offset the toxicity, although this should be done in consultation with healthcare professionals.
By working together—regulators, companies, and consumers—we can ensure that infant formula products are safe and healthy for our most vulnerable population, our babies.

read more