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Infant Behav Dev. 2006 Jul;29(3):445-55. Epub 2006 May 30.

Prenatal depression effects on the fetus and newborn: a review.

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Touch Research Institutes, University of Miami, School of Medicine, P.O. Box 016820, Miami, Florida, 33101, United States.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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