London: Working mothers beware. Sending your babies to nursery could affect their brain development and future health.
Many parents believe that attending nursery may help equip their child for the challenges of day-to-day life.
However, a British psychologist has warned that toddlers starting at nursery after being at home since birth experience high levels of stress in the first years of life after being cared by strangers.
According to Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, this could raise the odds of a host of problems, from coughs and colds in the short-term, to heart disease in the years to come, reports the Daily Mail.
He said that the emphasis on women’s rights, including the right to return to work after becoming a mother, means that the potential dangers of day-care are ignored.
“The uncomfortable question remains: which is better for a young child during weekdays – the biological mother or a paid carer at an institution?” he added.
In his article, Dr Sigman cites studies that show higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in children who go to day care.
Though the increase only appears up until the age of three or so, Sigman says it is still important as the brain develops rapidly during these years.
High levels of cortisol are linked to lower resistance to infection in the short-term and heart disease in the long-term.
The article is published in The Biologist journal.