Maternal depression during and after pregnancy linked to poorer child neurodevelopment

Maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy, in the first year postpartum, and in early childhood were linked with poorer child neurodevelopment in a recent Depression & Anxiety study.

In the study that included 2231 mothers, higher average maternal depressive symptoms during and after pregnancy predicted lower total developmental milestones, fine and gross motor skills, communication, problem solving, and personal/social skills when they were assessed in children aged 1.9 to 5.7 years.

"Our findings further suggest that antenatal and post-pregnancy depression have both independent and additive effects on neurodevelopment. Children of mothers with the most chronic and severe depressive symptoms during and after pregnancy had the most neurodevelopmental disadvantages," said co-lead author Dr. Marius Lahti-Pulkkinen, of the University of Helsinki, in Finland.

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