Saturday, February 6, 2010

Medical News: Depression During Pregnancy Linked to Kids' Behavior Problems - in Psychiatry, Depression from MedPage Today

A study of the children of 120 disadvantaged mothers from South London, reported in the January/February issues of Child Development, provided more evidence of the compelling need to take care of childbearing women and in particular, to provide support for disadvantaged and marginalised women, who were more likely to be depressed and have experienced conduct problems themselves as children. Researchers found that children whose mothers were depressed were twice as likely to display antisocial behaviour than those whose mothers weren't depressed.

Medical News: Depression During Pregnancy Linked to Kids' Behavior Problems - in Psychiatry, Depression from MedPage Today


The researchers "explored several potential mechanisms for the link between maternal depression and a child's behavior problems:
  • Direct effects on the fetus from biological correlates of the mothers' depressive symptoms
  • Depression in pregnancy as a sign of environmental adversity
  • Re-exposure to maternal depression after birth
  • Indirect effects of depression on the developing fetus driven by mothers' smoking, drinking, and drug taking during pregnancy
  • A genetic explanation whereby women who experience depression in pregnancy may also have a greater genetic risk for antisocial behavior, which they pass on to their offspring
Hay and her colleagues noted that these explanations are not necessarily mutually exclusive".
As the effect of the social environment upon the individual becomes more widely recognised and the way the building of a healthy sense of self in a baby/child is inextricably linked to the presence of a moment by moment, congruent, consistent, warm, responsive interactive relationship with the mother, it is no longer possible to ignore the responsibility of society to help childbearing women in every way possible. Apart from addressing basic economic necessities, a fundamental and important capacity building initiative is to provide one to one midwifery care. The provision of a trusting relationship with a known midwife in a continuity of care model, supports pregnant women's growth and development, providing the opportunity for early identification of potential problems and instituting remedial action and targetted solutions before the problems begin.  Authentic midwifery care, education, good nutrition, exercise and as already  noted, acupuncture all work together to alleviate and minimise depression and the associated problems with depression for childbearing women and their children.  Providing adequate resources for intervention in the beginning of life is an excellent public health strategy as it avoids the huge financial and societal cost of antisocial behaviour later on.

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