Women who have depression during pregnancy may be more likely to have a child who is depressed by the age of 18, according to a recent study. Researchers from Bristol University in the United Kingdom studied data from 4,500 parents with teen children. The higher the mothers scored on their questionnaire assessing prenatal depression, the more likely their children were to be depressed.
Since October is Depression Awareness Month, the results of this study are well timed. These findings suggest that mental health interventions for women should be made earlier in their pregnancy and more often. Between 14% and 23% of women will experience symptoms of depression while pregnant. Depressed women are more likely to have poor prenatal care and also more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
Identifying depression in pregnant women can be difficult since they mimic normal symptoms associated with pregnancy, but a mental health therapist can diagnosed it. Psychotherapy and sessions with a women’s group are the most common forms of treatment, with medication carefully administered when necessary.