Positive Parenting: New Moms & Mental Health

About 10 percent of expectant mothers worldwide have a mental disorder, and the most common is depression.

Today in Positive Parenting, we take a look at a new study that highlights the connection between maternal mental health and baby brain development.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison had 101 expectant mothers answer questions about their mental health during their third trimester.

A month after the women gave birth, scientists used MRIs to scan infants’ brains as they napped.

They found that babies whose mothers had a higher level of anxiety and depression had less white matter in their brain.

White matter is important for healthy brain development and may influence mental health outcomes later in life.

The findings suggest that pregnant women should get screened for depression and anxiety symptoms. They should also talk to their doctors about self-care and seek out therapies, such as mindfulness-based treatments and other interventions that can help reduce anxiety and depression.

The women who took part in the study did not have a diagnosed mental health disorder, but many experienced some anxiety and depression symptoms that are very common during pregnancy.

If you feel like you are struggling, there’s no shame in it!

Call your doctor’s office for resources that can help.

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