THE EFFECTS OF ANTENATAL DEPRESSION ON ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT & POSSIBLE ANTENATAL INTERVENTIONS
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis literature review displays the possible effects untreated antenatal depression can have on a woman’s adolescent child, as well as possible interventions that can be done during pregnancy to control those effects. This thesis goes into the proposed physiological mechanism behind how maternal depression influences child development, focusing on the role of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis, but also touching on how the maternal autonomic system contributes as well. The literature included highlights the increased risk of both internalizing and externalizing neurobehavioral disorders as well as neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring, including depression and anxiety, ADHD, ODD/CD, aggression, antisocial personality disorder, autism, and intellectual disability. Lastly, on a more positive note, the paper then focuses on possible mechanisms and practices that can be followed during pregnancy to decrease the effects antenatal depression can have. Such mechanisms include medications, bright light therapy, mindfulness, exercise, social support, yoga, and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Overall, this thesis indicates a correlation between antenatal depression and adverse adolescent outcomes, but it is important to note that when it comes to this type of analysis, researchers can never be completely certain whether the association between mother’s mental state and childhood outcomes is a direct effect or if it can be brought on by other social or biological processes.