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Study: Pregnant 9/11 Survivors Passed on PTSD to their Children

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The 9/11 attacks are among the most traumatic events in recent history. As a generation, we’ve been transformed by the tragedies of that day. But new research now shows that our kids are also feeling the effects of 9/11—even those that weren’t yet born at the time.

The Guardian reports that of the 1,700 pregnant women present at Ground Zero during and in the immediate aftermath of the attack, some of those that developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have passed it on to their then-unborn children. A team of medical researchers from New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center examined the levels of cortisol, a hormone tied to stress, in the saliva of 38 pregnant women who were at or near the World Trade Center at the time of the attack. The women who went on to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder had reduced levels of cortisol, but even more worryingly, so did their children.

Plus: 5 Tips on Talking to Kids About Scary News

Just what does this mean? Kids and adults alike who exhibit these signs are more susceptible to stress and its effects. And there is the risk of damage to further generations: The University of Pennsylvania recently published a study that suggests that it doesn’t stop at just one generation. When the kids of 9/11 mothers grow up and have kids of their own, they could be passing the traumatic legacy of the World Trade Center bombing to those children as well.

Do your kids know about 9/11? Have you spoken to them about what happened? Leave a comment and let us know.

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