Oct. 26, 2021 — New evidence points to the importance of helping mothers with their mental health during pregnancy.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, have found that feelings of stress or depression while pregnant are linked to changes in the placenta where the child is growing. The findings, published in Epigenomics, show these changes could alter gene activity.
Stress and depression are not uncommon among expectant women, with depression affecting an estimated 1 in 10 pregnancies, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
And current evidence already suggests that depression during pregnancy can negatively affect a child later in life. For instance, one study found that depression during pregnancy was linked to behavioral and emotional disorders during childhood, and another found that it raised the risk of depression at age 18.
To investigate stress and depression during pregnancy, the NIH investigators evaluated