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Home Industry News Depression in parents-to-be ‘can increase premature birth risk’

Depression in parents-to-be ‘can increase premature birth risk’

22nd January 2016

The risk of a premature birth can be increased if either parent is suffering from depression during the pregnancy, according to a new study.

Published in the BJOG journal, the research examined more than 350,000 births in Sweden between 2007 and 2012 to look for associations between parental depression and incidence of preterm birth.

New and recurrent depression among mothers was associated with an increased risk of moderately preterm birth of around 30 to 40 percent, while new cases of depression in fathers were also associated with a 38 percent higher risk of extremely premature birth.

It was noted that depression of a partner can be a substantial source of stress for an expectant mother, and that this may be why it has been associated with a higher risk of preterm birth in this study.

Paternal depression is also known to affect sperm quality, causing epigenetic effects on the DNA of the baby, and can also affect placental function. 

Professor Anders Hjern from the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm said: "Our results suggest that both maternal and paternal depression should be considered in preterm birth prevention strategies and both parents should be screened for mental health problems."ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801810758-ADNFCR

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