*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on U.S. News & World Report.
Children of mothers with long-term depression have an increased risk of behavioral problems and poor development, researchers say.
The new study included nearly 900 Australian mothers and 978 of their children. Levels of depression were examined in the mothers before, during, and after pregnancy. The investigators also analyzed their children’s development and behavior.
One in five of the women experienced depression once, while 11% experienced it more than once. The length of a mother’s depression had a greater impact on her child than when depression occurred, according to the researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia.
“The longer a mother suffered maternal depression, the worse the outcomes for the child,” study author Katrina Moss said in a university news release. She’s a research officer in the School of Public Health.
“Mothers may worry that if they’ve been depressed during pregnancy then it’s too late to do anything about it, but reducing depressive symptoms at any stage is better for them and their children,” she explained.
The study was published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.