Depression in Pregnancy severely affects mental health and social behaviour of child

In a new study, researchers have advised expectant mothers to stay happy as long as possible and avoid depressions and quarrels as it might trigger the risk of emotional and behavioural problems in children.

As per the previous studies, over 20 percent of the pregnant women suffer from depression in later stages of pregnancy and sometimes just after the birth. In depression, they experience low mood, hopeless and many other things that fill them with negativity.

Depression affects the bond between mother and the baby which affects the health and mental status of the child in the womb as well as after birth. Children with extreme emotional and behavioural problems are born from depressed mothers, suggest previous findings.

In the current study, scientists have shown that depression reduces the secretion of a specific enzyme that breaks down the “stress hormone” cortisol in the placenta. The stress hormone lead to adverse changes in foetus including alteration in the expression of DNA which lays a huge impact on child’s mental status and health.

While dividing in demographics,researchers observed that low and middle class people suffer most from the problem of depression while the problem is much less in high income groups.

“In severely deprived regions where there are wars, political violence, food insecurity, and little help after natural disasters, healthcare workers have little time or resources to meet basic physical needs, let alone mental health ones like maternal depression,” said Vivette Glover, researcher at the Imperial College London.

Apparently, women in poor countries experience very little social support and poor treatment during pregnancy which leads to depression. This might be the reason why poor countries witness inadequate antenatal care, pre-eclampsia, low birthweight, preterm delivery, and suicide.

The study appeared in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry.

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