Today's mums are more depressed during pregnancy than their own mums says new study
According to a new study, young, pregnant women today are far more prone to suffer from sadness and depression during their pregnancies than their own mothers were a generation ago.
The UK-based research, published in Journal of the American Medical Association , is the first of its kind in comparing prenatal depression in women across generations. But the findings are rather upsetting, with the researchers finding that rates of depression in pregnant women today are 51 percent more common than they were back in their mothers' time.
Mothers from different maternity centers who had babies sometime between 1990 to 1992 were invited to participate in the study. And then years later, the children of those women who became pregnant between 2012 and 2016 were asked to join as well. If the mother had a male child, his pregnant partner was the one participating in the study. To conduct the research, all participants needed to be in the 19- to 24-year-old age range during the study periods.
What the researchers found was that the group of women pregnant from 2012 to 2016 had higher scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale than their mothers, who were studied back in the early 1990s.
These findings are important, especially since we know that a mother’s prenatal depression can be a risk factor for her child to experience direct effects from this, for instance behavioral and/or cognitive issues. As well as this, many studies have previously pointed out that having a parent experience depression increases the chances of their children experiencing depression themselves.
As to what to take from the study, the researchers argue it will help highlight the need to scan and treat pregnant women who suffer from mental health issues and/or depression, and hopefully further fuel the conversation about mental health and prenatal depression in particular.