‘Pregnancy anxiety on the rise in young mothers’
THE NUMBER of young women who suffer anxiety and depression during pregnancy has risen by half within a generation, according to a new study.
The latest figures show a quarter of women who became pregnant under the age of 24 had symptoms, compared to 17 per cent in the 1990s.
Researchers at the University of Bristol analysed data from two generations of women who took part in the city’s Children of the 90s study. Having depressive symptoms was 51 per cent more common in the current generation, according to research published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
The study also found that if their mother was depressed in pregnancy, daughters were more than three times as likely to be depressed when pregnant themselves.
Researchers said it was the first time scientists could compare mental health symptoms across generations and would lead to further research
Dr Rebecca Pearson, a lecturer in psychiatric epidemiology at the Bristol university, said the research showed that depression in today’s young women may be driven by rises feelings of being stressed and overwhelmed.
She said: “Given that depression in pregnancy has substantial impact to both mother and child this is of key importance for health services.
“Our next steps will use this resource to look at the consequences of maternal depression on the second generation from the Children of the 90s once they are born.
“Currently we have parents and their babies set up with head camera technology at home to more closely and realistically examine interactions between parents and babies and how these are influenced by mental health.”
Clare Dolman, vice chairwoman of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said: “This is an important piece of research from the University of Bristol on depression in pregnancy showing that rates of depression have risen within a generation.
“It is vital now to go further and look at the possible causes of this increase to help devise interventions to break the inter-generational cycle.”