London: Working moms, please note! Putting babies in daycare could raise their risk of developing heart disease later in life as it sends stress levels soaring, a leading psychologist has claimed.
   
According to Dr Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, spending long periods being cared for by strangers in the first years of life can send levels of stress hormones soaring.
   
This could raise the odds of a host of problems, from coughs and colds in the short-term, to heart disease in the years to come; children deprived of their mother's attention during the vital years in which the brain blossoms may also find it harder to form relationships as adults, he has said.
   
"The uncomfortable question remains, which is better for a young child during weekdays -- the biological mother or a paid carer at an institution?" the 'Daily Mail' quoted Sigman as saying.
   
In his article for 'The Biologist' journal, Dr Sigman has cited studies which show higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in children who go to daycare. The increase appears only up until the age of three or so, but he says it is still important, as the brain develops rapidly during these years.
   
High levels of cortisol are linked to lower resistance to infection in the short-term and heart disease in long-term.
   
Dr Sigman added, "The effect of daycare on the child continues to be discussed through the prism of adult sexual politics and women's rights.
   
"This has been a significant impediment, involving a serious conflict of interest: Women's rights and self-fulfillment are not the same issue as a child's well-being and may often compete for precedence."

(Agencies)