Mother's affection help combat depression in kids

Mothers affection help combat depression in kids

Stress can pass through the placenta to negatively impact the fetus in ways that manifest after birth.



By IANS

Published: Fri 19 Feb 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 21 Feb 2016, 8:17 AM

A depressed mother's stress can pass on to infant before his or her life begins in many ways. But according to a new study, parenting strategies can combat the negative impacts of maternal depression on an infant.
Stress can pass through the placenta to negatively impact the fetus in ways that manifest after birth such as birth weight, brain development and increased susceptibility to various ailments, said lead author Elisabeth Conradt from University of Utah in the US in a study.
"We were curious about whether maternal behaviour could 'buffer' the child against the effects of maternal depression, and if this buffering could be observed at the level of the infant's epigenome," Conradt added in the study published in Child Development.
This study is the first to demonstrate that certain forms of maternal care-giving can have such an effect.
"Many mothers struggle with depression but interact quite sensitively with their infants. In these instances, the mother may be 'turning on' certain genes that we think allow infants to manage stress in adaptive ways," Conradt stated.
While there were no differences in DNA among infants whose mothers scored high on sensitivity, infants whose mothers were both less sensitive and had high depressive symptoms had higher levels of methylation and more cortisol.


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