Maternal Depression: Seeking Help Sooner Lowers Children’s Risk
Children of mothers with long-term depression tend to have a higher risk of developing psychological problems as well as impaired mental development. A new study has shown that this risk is more associated with the duration of maternal depression than the timing, suggesting that early treatment helps to lower a child’s risk significantly.
Maternal depression is a spectrum of emotional, psychological, and behavioral problems that affect women during pregnancy and up to one year after delivery of their babies. Maternal depression is a very common challenge affecting millions of mothers across the globe – and this poses a strong risk factor for behavioral problems in children.
The team of researchers analyzed depression levels in 892 mothers vis-à-vis the mental development and behavior of their children using data from an Australian study on women’s health. They found that the longer a mother suffered from maternal depression, the higher the risk and the worse the outcome for the child.
In light of this, the study authors suggest that early screening is pivotal in limiting these outcomes in children. The team suggested that screening should begin when couples begin planning for pregnancy and continue through the antenatal period and early childhood.