Women stressed during pregnancy have unhappy kids
Reported December 03, 2008
Sydney (IANS): Women stressed during pregnancy were more likely to have children with a higher risk of developing behavioural and emotional problems.
Researchers analysed data from more than 1,700 children in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, jointly conducted by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and the University of Western Australia (UWA).
The findings are drawn from child behaviour checklists undertaken at two and five years of age.
Report co-author Monique Robinson, doctoral candidate at the Telethon Institute, said the analysis found that maternal smoking, low income during pregnancy, multiple ‘baby blues’ symptoms after birth and stress were each associated with poorer behavioural and emotional outcomes in pre-school children.
The risk was also higher in children of non-Caucasian mothers and those who breastfed for shorter durations, according to a UWA release.
What this research highlights is the importance of early intervention, family support and parental education, particularly for mothers who have lower levels of education, who are socially isolated or otherwise disadvantaged, Robinson said.
We now know that if we are to reduce the rising rates of behavioural and emotional problems in children, then a good place to start is in pregnancy, she added.