Antenatal depression may alter babies' brains

A small study used MRI to reveal variations in white matter between infants at one month old

Women with depression and anxiety during pregnancy may be more likely to have babies with altered brain development that might be linked to behaviour problems later in childhood, a small study suggests.

Researchers asked 101 women to complete questionnaires about depression and anxiety symptoms during their third trimester.

Overall, six mothers had symptoms of major depressive disorder, five met criteria for moderate depression and 42 met the criteria for mild depression.

Following birth, when the babies were about one month old, the researchers took MRIs of their brains.

They found more alterations in brain structure among those born to women who had experienced at least moderate levels of depression during pregnancy.

"Our study suggests that moderate levels of maternal depression and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy were associated with variations in the brain's white