Depression in Pregnancy is Linked to Low IQ of Infant

Depression-in-Pregnancy-is-Linked-to-Low-IQ-of-Infant

Researchers reported that depressed mothers scored low in verbal IQ tests of children at the age of five as compared to mothers who did not suffer from depression

Researchers from University of California San Diego School of Medicine found revealed that maternal depression can have a negative effect on cognitive development of child up to age 16. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one in 10 women in the U.S. experiences depression. The findings of the study was published in the April, 2018 issue of Child Development.

As a part of study, around 900 healthy children and their mothers living in Santiago, Chile were examined at five-year intervals from the child’s infancy through age 16. They observed how affectionate and responsive mothers were to their children at each age period, as well as how much mothers provided age-appropriate learning materials. Children were assessed on verbal cognitive abilities using standardized IQ tests during each assessment and mothers were tested for symptoms of depression. “We found that mothers who were highly depressed didn’t invest emotionally or in providing learning materials to support their child, such as toys and books, as much as mothers who were not depressed. This, in turn, impacted the child’s IQ at ages 1, 5, 10 and 16,” said Patricia East, PhD, research scientist with the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

On a scale from one to 19, the average verbal IQ score for all children in the study at age 5 was 7.64. Children who had severely depressed mothers were found to have an average verbal IQ score of 7.30 compared to a score of 7.78 in children without depressed mothers. Furthermore, researchers are working on analyzing the data to see how mothers’ depression affects children’s own depressive symptoms through childhood and adolescence and children’s academic achievement and health.

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