Teenagers are more likely to be depressed if their mothers were depressed while pregnant, according to a new study.
Mothers’ depression after giving birth was also tied to their children’s mental health years later, but possibly for different reasons, researchers found.
Depression during pregnancy may affect a baby through stress hormones that move across the placenta, Rebecca Pearson, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and her colleagues said.
That goes against the suggestion of some researchers that depression is only important if it continues past the end of pregnancy and affects parenting.
“It should be treated during pregnancy, irrespective of if it continues during birth. It’s as important during pregnancy,” Pearson said.
She said the findings mean therapy should be made available to pregnant women with depression whenever possible. They also add another layer to the debate over the use of antidepressants in pregnancy.