Depression during Pregnancy Can Put the Child at Similar Risk
- A child’s mental health does not start at birth but in the uterus.
- Stress hormones may affect the child's development in the womb.
- Treatment during pregnancy can lower risk of mental problems in child.
- The risk of depression is around 1.3 times higher than normal.
When your elders tell you to always remain blessed when you are pregnant, you must do so. Your mental state affects your baby. It has been scientifically proved that the risk of depression starts right from the womb. A UK study has found that expectants, who are depressed during pregnancy, put their children at the same risk. Such children experience dejection when they reach adulthood.
Researchers at Bristol University say that medical treatment during pregnancy could lower the risk of future mental health problems in the child. Offsprings of more than 8,000 mothers who suffered postnatal or antenatal depression were followed by the study. It found that the risk is around 1.3 times higher than normal at the age of 18.
"Depression in pregnancy should be taken seriously and treated in pregnancy. It looks like there is a long-term risk to the child, although it is small" says lead researcher Dr Rebecca Pearson. She said it was an association, not a causal link, and needed further investigation.
Prof Carmine Pariante of King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry said the development of an individual's mental health did not start at birth but in the uterus.
"The message is clear - helping women who are depressed in pregnancy will not only alleviate their suffering but also the suffering of the next generation."
Prof Celso Arango of Gregorio Maranon General University Hospital, Madrid, said stress hormones may affect the child's development in the womb.
"Women with depression would ideally be treated before getting pregnant, but if they are already pregnant when diagnosed with depression it is even more important that they are treated as it will impact on the mother and child."
Researchers believe that various environmental factors like social support have a bigger impact in postnatal depression.
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Source: Agency News Oct 10, 2013
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