Early Experiences in the Womb Have Long Consequences for Future Health

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An emerging field of science known as fetal origins claims that conditions in the womb before birth can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for the health and well-being of the adults those fetuses become. The latest scientific research suggests that prenatal influences — including a woman’s exposure to environmental toxins during her pregnancy, her stress levels and diet — can affect the health of future generations.

In her new book, "Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives," Annie Murphy Paul writes about the lasting effects of life in the womb. Paul researched and wrote her book during her second pregnancy, which she says provided the inspiration and motivation for "Origins." The book is divided into nine chapters, with each chapter representing one of the nine months of pregnancy.