A new study published in Biological Psychiatry (December 2013) shows that maternal depression during pregnancy may alter the way the brain develops in babies. Researchers at the National University of Singapore had 157 women fill out questionnaires during their 26th week of pregnancy. Within two weeks after being born, their babies underwent brain scans to determine if there were any differences in the brains of those born to depressed mothers as opposed to those born to non-depressed mothers. They found that the babies born to depressed mothers had reduced “structural connectivity” in their right amygdala, the portion of the brain that is involved in the regulation of emotion and stress. This suggests that babies of depressed mothers may be “wired” for depression themselves.
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