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Stressed mums cradle to the right

Mothers who cradle their babies to the right hand side are displaying signs of extreme stress, researchers suggest.

Experts from Durham University in the UK believe that baby cradling habits are a key indicator of stress that could lead to depression.

Earlier research shows that mothers prefer to cradle their baby to the left, regardless of whether they are right or left handed.

The Durham study of 79 new mothers and their babies found that among mothers showed showed no signs of stress or depression, 86% preferred to hold their babies to the left.

However, 32% of stressed mums preferred to cradle their babies to right.

The researchers say that studying nonverbal cues such as baby cradling could help health visitors to identify mothers who need extra professional support, before it is too late.

Lead author Nadja Reissland adds: "Many mothers don't realise they are suffering from stress, or don't admit they are.

"The way they interact with their child is usually the best indicator of their mental state."

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Clinical Zone: Pregnancy

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Non verbal clues are agreeably very important, but more important is knowing the woman. Ante natal visits are so important but are often forgotten or dismissed when short staffed. This is a vital part of health visitors work. Women are more likely to acknowledge feelings of low mood if they have a good professional relationship with the health visitor. Our PCT is at present changing to geographical working. Many of the clinics will be run from GP surgeries which may be staffed by different health visitors to those working the patch the family lives in. This is due to the rural nature of the area and also the wider catchment areas now accepted by many GPs who do not work out of hours. I fear it will mean fewer families having good relationships with their health visitors. Time will tell and I hope the trust is going to audit clients in the future to gain their opinion on their service" - Name and address supplied