Medindia

X

Fetus Receives Chemical Signals On Motherís Mental State

by Gopalan on  November 13, 2011 at 1:23 PM Women Health News   - G J E 4
As a fetus grows, it receives chemical signals on the mother's mental state. So when a†mother is depressed, it†could affect how the baby develops after it is born.
 Fetus Receives Chemical Signals On Motherís Mental State
Fetus Receives Chemical Signals On Motherís Mental State
Advertisement

Indeed the environment has to be†consistent before and after birth for a healthy†development of the baby, new study shows.†The babies who did best were those who either had mothers who were healthy both before and after birth, and those whose mothers were depressed before birth and stayed depressed afterwards.

Advertisement
The research has been published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

In recent decades, researchers have found that the environment a fetus is growing up inóthe mother's wombóis very important. Some effects are obvious. Smoking and drinking, for example, can be devastating. But others are subtler; studies have found that people who were born during the Dutch famine of 1944, most of whom had starving mothers, were likely to have health problems like obesity and diabetes later.

Curt A. Sandman, Elysia P. Davis, and Laura M. Glynn of the University of California-Irvine study how the mother's psychological state affects a developing fetus. For this study, they recruited pregnant women and checked them for depression before and after they gave birth. They also gave their babies tests after they were born to see how well they were developing.

They found†what slowed the babies' development was changing conditionsóa mother who went from depressed before birth to healthy after or healthy before birth to depressed after. "We must admit, the strength of this finding surprised us," Sandman says.

Now, the cynical interpretation of our results would be that if a mother is depressed before birth, you should leave her that way for the well-being of the infant. "A more reasonable approach would be, to treat women who present with prenatal depression. Sandman says. "We know how to deal with depression." The problem is, women are rarely screened for depression before birth.

In the long term, having a depressed mother could lead to neurological problems and psychiatric disorders, Sandman says. In another study, his team found that older children whose mothers were anxious during pregnancy, which often is co morbid with depression, have differences in certain brain structures. It will take studies lasting decades to figure out exactly what having a depressed mother means to a child's long-term health.

"We believe that the human fetus is an active participant in its own development and is collecting information for life after birth," Sandman says. "It's preparing for life based on messages the mom is providing."



Source: Medindia
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All