Babies born to mothers who are depressed during pregnancy have higher levels of stress hormones, decreased muscle tone and other neurological and behavioural differences, a new study finds.
The study included 154 pregnant women, over the age of 20, whose depressive symptoms were assessed at 28, 32 and 37 weeks of pregnancy and again when they gave birth.
Impact over time
Umbilical cord blood samples were taken at birth to measure stress hormone levels. At two weeks, the infants underwent neurobehavioral tests to assess their motor skills and responses to stimuli and stress. The findings appear in the journal Infant Behavior and Development.