Effects Of Depression During Pregnancy On Children

1540 Words Nov 15th, 2016 7 Pages
In a recent meta-analysis of 28 articles regarding depression during pregnancy, Gavin et al. found that up to 13% of women experience depressive episodes at some point during pregnancy or within the first year postpartum. The prenatal period is a very important time for the growth of the offspring, therefore a range of exposures can have long-term changes. Not only will it have immediate effects on the fetus, the impact of a woman’s mental state has been found to have lasting effects up to childhood and adolescence (Kinsella, 2013). The mental state of the mother causes a chain of hormones to be released if stressed. Once a mother is stressed, the fetus activities decrease and are less responsive to stimulants. Due to stress hormones, the fetuses have low birth weight and are at a higher risk of preterm delivery. Prenatal depression has been noted to be able to predict the likelihood of postpartum depression from hormones such as low dopamine. Depression during pregnancy negatively affects the development of offspring.
One of the first studies on prenatal depression showed that fetuses of depressed mothers had less total movement, and had a higher heart rate than a fetus of a woman who was not depressed (Field, 2010). Fetuses of women suffering from depression have shown to have a higher base heart rate, a delayed response to stimulus, increased fetal activity, different sleep patterns and a longer recovery time back to the base heart rate which indicates an impact on the…
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