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Anxiety in Pregnant Women Linked to Children's Problems

Read the latest information about how anxiety in mothers during pregnancy is strongly linked to children having emotional and behavioral problems as they grow up.Anxiety in mothers during pregnancy is strongly linked to children having emotional and behavioral problems as they grow up, researchers say.

A study found that expectant mothers who reported high levels of on anxiety were generally two to three times more likely to have a child with problems.

The research is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry and looked at women who gave birth in the geographical area of Avon, England.

Maternal anxiety and depression were assessed at 32 and 18 weeks before birth, and at eight weeks, eight months, 21 months and 33 months after birth.

Researchers found there were "strong and significant links" between antenatal anxiety and children's behavioural and or emotional problems at the age of four.

They discovered that elevated levels of anxiety in late pregnancy were associated with hyperactivity and or inattention in boys, and overall behavioural and or emotional problems in both sexes.

The researchers, led by Dr Thomas O'Connor of the Institute of Psychiatry, suggest that a neuroendocrine process might be adversely affecting the infant's brain during pregnancy.

"This study shows a new and additional mode of transmission connecting maternal anxiety and children's behavioural and or emotional problems," they conclude.

They call for more research into the biological mechanisms involved and into the potential benefits of an intervention programme specifically targeted on anxiety in pregnant women.

Source: British Journal of Psychiatry, June 2002

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2002, June 1). Anxiety in Pregnant Women Linked to Children's Problems, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/anxiety-in-pregnant-women-linked-to-childrens-problems

Last Updated: July 2, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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