Smaller babies due to depression

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The birth weight of children decreases when mothers suffer from anxiety and depression.

The birth weight of children is reduced if the mother suffers from anxiety and / or depression. In addition to alcohol, medication, feelings and emotions of the mother affect the course of pregnancy. However, it is only known that mental illnesses and restrictions can have a negative impact on the unborn child. So far, what exactly these are is still unclear.

Researchers from Sweden and Bangladesh found in a study that women who suffer from anxiety and depression also give birth to smaller babies than women who do not suffer from mental illnesses. The researchers published the research results in the medical journal "BMC Public Health".

During the course of the study, the scientists around Hashima Nasreen and Maigun Edhborg examined around 720 women who were in the last third of pregnancy. Even after birth, the researchers accompanied the women and their children for a period of six to eight months. A very high proportion of women suffered from depression (18 percent) and about a quarter of the test subjects from acute anxiety. The scientists found that the birth weight of the mothers with the mental disabilities was significantly lower than that of the mothers without emotional impairments. The children, however, were not premature babies, as the scientists emphasize. That is why the researchers are also very worried because the children are at higher risk of death: "This is very worrying because children with a low birth weight are at greater risk of dying," said study leader Nasreen. It is a vicious cycle that sustains child mortality.

Child mortality is extremely high in the third world country of Bangladesh. About 42 children out of 1,000 newborns do not survive the first days after birth. Between a quarter and a third of babies in Bangladesh are acutely underweight.

It is not yet clear why the mother's psychological condition also influences the child's birth weight. However, the researchers suspect that stress hormones that are excessively produced during depression could hinder the growth of babies. However, it is also possible that depressed mothers care less about the well-being of their bodies and thus neglect the well-being of the unborn child. This would require further studies.

Naturopathy knows some effective methods to counteract pregnancy depression. For example, American researchers have published a study that acupuncture can be effective in pregnancy-related depression. (sb, Aug 27, 2010)

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Video: Coping with Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy

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