According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the placenta has been found to contain markers for the amount of stress a mother experienced during her pregnancy. The researchers found that even stress is filtered through the placenta, which in turn, responds by altering certain levels of protein. This affects the developing brain of the fetus, however, males are affected differently than females.
The researchers believe the more exposure a mother has to stress can possibly affect the development of disorders such as autism and schizophrenia to which males are more susceptible to.
The researchers hope that by isolating this biomarker in the placenta, it can help to identify people at risk.