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New Study Finds Highly Sensitive Adults May Have Had a Shorter Gestation Period

A Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Highly Sensitive Person

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How much do you know about your birth story and its connection with being Highly Sensitive?

According to a recent study on 858 Highly Sensitive People (HSPs), a shorter gestation period and stressful pregnancy are common factors among individuals with High Sensitivity. 

We found that high sensitivity in adulthood (28-29 years old) is common in individuals that had short gestational periods (< 38 weeks) and or are born following stressful pregnancies.

— Dr Andrew May, Sensitivity Research

So, simply put, people born before 38 weeks or after a stressful pregnancy are more likely to be Highly Sensitive.

About the Study on HSPs Having Had a Shorter Gestation Period

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Done using a group of research participants studied since birth, the study aimed to identify common characteristics in young HSPs.

Out of the group of 3200 adults, researchers used data from 858 people who took this free HSP scale and identified as Highly Sensitive.

The data included birth weight, gestational age, socioeconomic status, maternal education level, maternal prenatal stress levels, and caregiver ratings at age 7.

Researchers then used this information and genetic variations from their blood samples to check for shared childhood and genetic features.

It is through this study that shorter gestation periods and stressful pregnancies stood out as the common factors.

You can find more details about the study in this blog post on SensitivityResearch.Com.

Final Word on the New Study 

According to the study, people born at or before 38 weeks or after a difficult pregnancy are likely to test high in Sensitivity. But there’s no information on why this is the case.

Is there a cause, or is this just a coincidental correlation? Unfortunately, we cannot answer those questions yet.

The study findings support an existing theory that Sensitivity is high when pregnancies and childhoods are highly stressful or completely stress-free.

Currently, theory suggests that Sensitivity is higher in two specific contexts: either when pregnancy and childhood are stressful (as our study points to), or in cases when pregnancy and childhood are consistently stress-free and supportive (a rarer scenario, given the many pressures of the modern world).

In both scenarios, it benefits children to be highly sensitive, whether to help them remain hypervigilant and hyperaware in stressful situations or to soak in the benefits of a peaceful, nurturing childhood.

— Dr Andrew May, Sensitivity Research

Over to You

Knowing about this study and your birth story, does this correlation speak true for you? Do you know if you were born after a shorter gestation period or if your parent had a stressful pregnancy?

Let us know in the comments.

As for me, my mom says I took the longest time in labour. And when I was born, my feet faced each other (a condition I now know as Clubfoot). 

She had to take me to the hospital every Thursday for two months to have it corrected. That’s all I know about my birth story. 

Maybe I should call her to learn more.


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