There is strong support for the notion that patterns of maternal mood influence the developing brain, according to a recent study. More specifically, it is suggested that prenatal maternal mood predictability may be a critical predictor of developmental mental health trajectories and should be considered when assessing early life influences on lifespan mental health. The association between prenatal mood predictability and child internalizing symptoms were assessed in 2 longitudinal cohorts (n=227 and 180). Maternal mood was assessed repeatedly during pregnancy as early as 15 weeks’ gestation; maternal reports of child negative affectivity were collected at 6, 12, 24 months, and at age 7 years. Researchers found:
- Fetal exposure to more elevated maternal mood entropy predicted higher levels of child negative affectivity at 12 months, 24 months, and 7 years.
- In addition, children exposed to higher prenatal maternal mood entropy, reported higher levels of anxiety symptoms at 10 years and elevated depressive symptoms at 13 years.
- These associations persisted after adjusting for maternal pre and postnatal mood valence and for other relevant demographic characteristics.
Glynn LM, Howland MA, Sandman CA, et al. Prenatal maternal mood patterns predict child temperament and adolescent mental health. [Published online ahead of print November 14, 2017]. J Affect Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2017.11.065.
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