pregnancy health

Child’s elevated mental ill-health risk if mother treated for infection during pregnancy

Risks for autism and depression are higher if one’s mother was in hospital with an infection during pregnancy. This is shown by a major Swedish observational study of nearly 1.8 million children. “The results indicate that safeguarding against and preventing infection during pregnancy as far as possible by, for instance, following flu vaccination recommendations, may be called for,” says Verena Sengpiel, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and last…

Read More

Postnatal depression could be linked to fewer daylight hours during late pregnancy

Women in late pregnancy during darker months of the year may have a greater risk of developing postpartum depression once their babies are born. This is consistent with what is known about the relationship between exposure to natural light and depression among adults in the general population. Deepika Goyal of San José State University in the US is the lead author of a study published in a special issue “Post-partum Health” in Springer’s Journal of Behavioral…

Read More

Stress during pregnancy increases risk of mood disorders for female offspring

High maternal levels of the stress hormone cortisol during pregnancy increase anxious and depressive-like behaviors in female offspring at the age of 2, reports a new study in Biological Psychiatry. The effect of elevated maternal cortisol on the negative offspring behavior appeared to result from patterns of stronger communication between brain regions important for sensory and emotion processing. The findings emphasize the importance of prenatal conditions for susceptibility of later mental health problems in offspring. Interestingly,…

Read More

Humans and others exposed to prenatal stress have high stress levels after birth

Vertebrate species, including humans, exposed to stress prenatally tend to have higher stress hormones after birth, according to a new Dartmouth-led study published in Scientific Reports. While previous research has reported examples of maternal stress experience predicting offspring stress hormones in different species, this study is the first to empirically demonstrate the impact of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormone levels using data from all known studies across vertebrates. Through a meta-analysis of 114 results from…

Read More

Using antidepressants during pregnancy may affect your child’s mental health

The use of antidepressants has been on the rise for many years. Between 2 and 8% of pregnant women are on antidepressants. Now researchers from the National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus BSS show that there is an increased risk involved in using antidepressants during pregnancy. The researchers, headed by Xiaoqin Liu, have applied register-based research to the study of 905,383 children born between 1998 and 2012 with the aim of exploring the possible…

Read More

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact on offspring behavior. The new study links an unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression in children. “Given the high level of dietary fat consumption and maternal obesity in developed nations, these…

Read More

In Colorado, self-harm is leading cause of death in new mothers

Self-harm was the leading cause of pregnancy-associated deaths in Colorado from 2004 to 2014, ahead of car crashes, medical conditions and homicide, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The study, “Maternal Deaths from Suicide and Overdose in Colorado, 2004-2012,” found that of 211 maternal deaths, 30 percent were from self-harm, defined as suicide and nonintentional overdose deaths occurring during pregnancy and the first year after giving birth. In Colorado, the…

Read More

Drug use strong predictor for postpartum mental health problems

New research from North Carolina State University and the University of British Columbia finds that a woman’s lifetime history of drug use can help predict whether the woman will suffer from problems with stress and anxiety after childbirth. The finding could help health-care providers screen pregnant women for mental health problems and provide relevant treatment. “There’s been a lot of attention recently on the need to incorporate mental health screening into prenatal care, and it…

Read More

Miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy may trigger post-traumatic stress disorder

Women may be at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder following a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, suggests a new study. The team behind the research, from Imperial College London, say the findings suggest women should be routinely screened for the condition, and receive specific psychological support following pregnancy loss. In the study, published in the journal BMJ Open, the team surveyed 113 women who had recently experienced a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. The majority of the women…

Read More

Fewer indications of ADHD in children whose mothers took vitamin D during pregnancy

Children of mothers who took vitamin D during pregnancy with resultant high levels of the vitamin in the umbilical blood have fewer symptoms of ADHD at the age of 2½ years. These were the findings in a new study from the Odense Child Cohort just published in The Australia & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. “And for every 10 nmol/L increase in the vitamin D concentration in umbilical blood, the risk of a being among the…

Read More