Prenatal Depression & Fetal Brain Development - by admin@mcb on November 30 2016

Prenatal Depression & Fetal Brain Development

An article published on this week shows a negative impact of prenatal depression and postnatal depression on children’s brain development.

Researching Prenatal Depression Impact

Research was conducted under the supervision of  Catherine Lebel, PhD, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She found that both prenatal depression and postpartum depression is linked to adverse cerebral cortex development in their young children.

The study looked at the depression scale readings of 52 women during all three trimesters of pregnancy and again 3 months after giving birth. Their children were given an MRI between the ages of 2.5 to 5 years old. The study revealed two types of fetal brain anomalies. Cortical thickness in two areas of the right hemisphere of the brain, and structural patterns of the white brain matter, were negatively affected by maternal depression. It was noted that most of the women did not have major depression that would have resulted in a diagnosis of depression.

“These types of changes suggest to us that the children whose mums were more depressed have a more mature pattern of brain structure. Their gray matter was thinner, and we know that with age, gray matter becomes thinner. So it looks like the kids whose mums were more depressed have this premature pattern of brain structure, almost like their brains are developing too soon,” said Dr Lebel.
“There is a lot of focus on postpartum depression, but prenatal depression exists, and it is actually quite common, and we have shown here that it is actually associated with children’s brain structures.” Dr Lebel added.

Prenatal Depression and Neurodevelopment

A related editorial was written by Amalia Londono Tobon, MD at Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT. She stated that current neuroscience suggests that one of the most vulnerable times for a person’s mental health is while they are in their mother’s womb. “A range of critical neurodevelopmental processes are taking place during this time… Given the complexity of this process, it is no surprise that small perturbations can lead to significant long-term consequences.” she writes.

Prenatal Massage Benefits Prenatal Depression

This adds yet another reason why massage therapy during pregnancy is so important. In addition to expected benefits like relieving muscular and skeletal aches and pains, by easing prenatal depression it also can help reduce the chance of preterm labor and improve infant brain development.

Are you ready to see your massage practice have benefits that extend to the next generation? Become a Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist through the Institute of Somatic Therapy. Click here for details and to enroll.

Depression Linked to Premature Births - by admin@mcb on November 16 2016

Depression Linked to Premature Births

Is depression linked to premature births?

Is depression linked to premature births? The International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) recently published a study performed in Sweden. Researched studied over 350,000 births between 2007 and 2012. The study was looking for a correlation between premature births and depression in either parent. To be classified as having depression, either parent had to either be on antidepressant medication or receive hospital care during the one year period ending in the second trimester. This is roughly six months before the pregnancy and the first six months into the pregnancy. The study also considered whether the onset of depression was recent or had been ongoing.

The study revealed that indeed depression linked to premature births. Mothers who were depressed (either recent or ongoing) had a 30 – 40% chance of delivering preterm. Fathers with new depression led to a 38% increase in preterm delivery. Fathers with prior ongoing depression did not increase the odds of a preterm birth.

How does depression impact length of pregnancy?

One of the study’s authors, Professor Anders Hjern, said: “Depression of a partner can be considered to be a substantial source of stress for an expectant mother. This may result in the increased risk of very preterm birth seen in our study. Paternal depression is also known to affect sperm quality, have epigenetic effects on the DNA of the baby, and can also affect placenta function. However, this risk seems to be reduced for recurrent paternal depression, indicating that perhaps treatment for the depression reduces the risk of preterm birth.”

He went on to suggest that depression screening should be considered in both parents to help decrease the chance of a premature birth in their offspring.

Dr Patrick O’Brien, an obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: ” We know that between 12% and 20% of women experience anxiety and/or depression during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth. This research is interesting as it finds that paternal mental health can also have an effect on the health of the baby.”

Prenatal Massage and Depression

What does this mean for massage therapists specializing in prenatal massage? Massage therapy has been linked to decreased depression in several studies done at the Touch Research Institute. Massage therapists should encourage the fathers of pregnant clients to also receive massage. By doing so, you can potentially help increase the odds that your client will have a full term labor. It is also important to be sure that both parents take part in learning infant massage, since studies also show that the massage giver experiences stress reduction as well.

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers certification courses in prenatal massage and infant massage. Be sure to view all of our package options as you enroll.