Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mothers' depression and babies' health

Up to one in five women experiences depression during pregnancy and postnatal depression is also a common problem. Researchers from the University of Michigan studied 154 pregnant women, over the age of 20, who were tested for depression at 28, 32 and 37 weeks into their pregnancy and again when they gave birth. The researchers took blood samples from the babies' umbilical cords to measure the levels of stress hormones and assessed the babies' motor skills and responses to stimuli and stress when they were two weeks old. The study found that the babies born to women who were depressed had higher levels of stress hormones, decreased muscle tone and other neurological and behavioural differences.

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