Depression during pregnancy increases the risk of depression in the child by 70 %

Scientists at the University of Texas Health Sciences in Houston (UTHealth) conducted a meta-analysis of the depression impact in pregnant women on the likelihood of depressive disorder in children. They reviewed the results of six studies published on this topic, in which more than 15,000 adolescents over the age of 12 were involved. It was found that children whose mothers were depressed during pregnancy and the first week after birth were much more likely to experience the same disorder in adolescence. 

The experts explain that we are talking about depression in the perinatal period, covering the second half of pregnancy and the first week after birth. At this time, about 10-20 % of women suffer from depressive disorders, and the probability of postpartum depression is as high as 25 % (especially in low-income women). 

The most common cause of depression is anxiety about the development of the fetus and the newborn issues, experiencing due to underweight gain, possible diseases, etc. After analyzing a large database, experts found that depression before and immediately after birth increased the probability of depression in adolescents and adults by 70 %. 

- Depression is often difficult to track because mothers don't want to report that they are sad or have other mental problems," explains one of the authors, psychiatrist Sudhakar Selvaraj. - Our study shows the potential long-term effects of depression on offspring and therefore the need for proper screening. 

July 29, 2020, 10:41 a.m.

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