Prenatal depression effects on the fetus and newborn: a review

Tiffany Field, Miguel Diego, Maria Hernandez-Reif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

359 Scopus citations

Abstract

A review of research on prenatal depression effects on the fetus and newborn suggests that they experience prenatal, perinatal and postnatal complications. Fetal activity is elevated, prenatal growth is delayed, and prematurity and low birthweight occur more often. Newborns of depressed mothers then show a biochemical/physiological profile that mimics their mothers' prenatal biochemical/physiological profile including elevated cortisol, lower levels of dopamine and serotonin, greater relative right frontal EEG activation and lower vagal tone. Elevated prenatal maternal cortisol is the strongest predictor of these neonatal outcomes. Moderate pressure massage can alleviate these effects including reducing prematurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

Keywords

  • Cortisol
  • Fetus
  • Newborn
  • Prenatal Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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