Neurodevelopment attained in the foetal period is greater than in any other period of an individual's life. Foetal exposure to "optimal levels" of maternal cortisol in third trimester has been linked to better cognitive and functional performance in the child.
Maternal cortisol acts on its receptors present in amygdala, hippocampus and the pre - frontal cortex ( PFC ) in high amounts. This hormone influences various stages of neurodevelopment including neurogenesis, axonal development, and myelination of nerve fibres and thus it leads to increased cortical thickness in frontal part of the brain and increased brain maturity.
( Source )
- Jaskunwar Singh