Baby can Feel Your Depression Mum

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A possible connection between the mood of the mother during pregnancy, and the temperament of the child has been found by researchers at UCLA.

The researchers were working in conjunction with the Maternal Fetal Medicine department at Cedars Sinai Hospital. They have found a potential correlation between the child’s temperament after birth, and symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression in the mother during pregnancy.

It has been known for a long time that there is a connection between temperament and a person’s risk of developing of emotional disorders including depression and anxiety. The part that nature has to play in the process was not known however until this UCLA evaluation. The studies intention was to determine if there is a role to be played by nature above nurture in this domain of temperament acquisition.

247 soon to be mums were taken into the study and there were a range of measures used in the testing. The experiences of depression, anxiety and stress posed to the mother were detailed on each count. The hormone levels were another giveaway as to the stress levels they were under even if this was not evident through communication with the studied women.

All were evaluated at different points in the run up to the birth. The final evaluation was two months after the birth of the child, whereupon the child itself underwent tests.

Infant negative reactivity it was determined by the study was closely related to the stress levels of the mother. Measurements on the child were conducted using what is known as the ‘fear subscale of the infant Temperament Questionnaire.’

The nature nurture hypothesis was refined as a result of the research, whereupon a link between the nature was found to lead to a future risk of emotional disorders.

There was a positive note however in finding a potential solution. The study shows how if there is a more intensive prenatal emotional care system put in place then long term emotional health issues can be targeted head on at an earlier point, and the threat posed eliminated.

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