By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 05/23/2014

The mother’s state of mind during pregnancy has an impact on the development of the baby.

New research reveals that the development of the baby-to-be can be easily affected by not only the physical health state but also the state of mind of the mother. The results have been published on BMC Public Health. They outline that low birth-weight may be due fundamentally to the psychological state of the mother, and other factors such as those related to nutrition or the socioeconomic status are just secondary issues.

Happy pregnancy

Another studies related to maternal mental health during pregnancy have been conducted. They were based on cities from South Asia –India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh– where, generally, more cases of low birth-weight occur among the poorest areas of these cities.

The psychological state of the mother is important, since pregnant women suffering from depression or anxiety are more likely to have children with low birth-weight. These babies are more prone to develop diseases which could be fatal in these countries.

Another research has also been conducted thanks to the contribution of the Karolinska Instituet (KI), Sweden, and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). The research involved the participation of 720 women on the third quarter of pregnancy. The weight of their children was assessed once they were born. Of this amount of pregnant women, 26% suffered from anxiety and 18% from depression.

The study showed that women suffering from depression and anxiety had more chances for giving birth to low birth-weight children. In view of these results, researchers have suggested the need for mental health treatments in order to diminish the child mortality rate.

Source: El Mundo

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information
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