Mom's Psychological State Affects Infant Development
A new study has found that the psychological state of pregnant women has important implications for the development of newborns. Many people are aware that a fetus responds to music and can feel the heartbeat of the mother. On November, 13 Medical News Today reported a new research study which offers insights into pregnancy and child development which augments our existing knowledge
The new study finds that the fetus absorbs the mother's psychological state. If the mother is happy the fetus will take in that information. And if the mother is unhappy or depressed the fetus will take in that information as well. It would appear that the fetus normalizes itself to the mother whatever her mood or psychological state is.
The University of California-Irvine recently concluded a study investigating pregnant mothers and the development of their children. The participating pregnant women were tested for depression during pregnancy and afterward. The development of the children was monitored as well.
Researchers observed how the mother's psychological state affected the child's development. Although it would make sense that a depressed mother would have a more negative impact on a child than a happy mother, the findings suggest that the most impact was felt by children whose mothers' psychological state varied. Happy mothers during and after pregnancy and depressed mothers during and after pregnancy were the easiest situations for the young child to handle.
The findings makes sense because to a newborn their greatest need is safety. Their survival depends on it. The stability of the emotional climate apparently is most important to the infant because without the ability to have stable expectations, the child will feel unsafe and have trouble adapting to the environment and dealing with it. The researchers noticed that mothers with more emotional variability has children who developed more slowly.
There are more and more studies being done to evaluate the impact of maternal health and well being on a child's health and development. Past studies have indicated that the condition of the mother can make a big difference. The study's press release in Psychological Science, where the research results will be published, noted that people who were born during the Dutch famine of 1944, most of whom had starving mothers, were likely to have health problems like obesity and diabetes later.
It is wonderful that so much attention is being paid to the early development of children. Hopefully all of this knowledge will enable us to become smarter about how we foster the healthy development of children and provide a way to minimize the potential negative effects of inhospitable early life conditions for newborns.