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Study: Depression in pregnancy affects child

Teenagers have an increased risk of depression if their mothers were depressed during pregnancy, a study has found. 

Researchers from the University of Bristol believe stress hormones could move through the placenta during pregnancy. 

According to Rebecca Pearson, lead author, this contradicts the established belief that depression is only important if it impacts parenting. 

By following more than 8,000 mothers who had postnatal or antenatal depression the researchers found a 1.3% increase in the risk of developing depression at age 18. 

Pearson said: “[Depression] should be treated during pregnancy, irrespective of if it continues during birth. It's as important during pregnancy.”  

The findings, published in JAMA Psychiatry, suggest therapy should be made available to pregnant women with depression whenever possible. 

The data comes from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children - a long-term health research project, also known as Children of the 90s.

More than 14,000 mothers enrolled during pregnancy in 1991 and 1992, and the health and development of their children has been followed in detail since then.