Anxiety and Depression in Pregnant Women in Bangladesh Linked to Low Birth Weights


Anxiety and depression can take quite a toll on a person, both emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, new research suggests that for pregnant women, these mental health issues may result in babies that are quite small and more vulnerable to death during infancy.

The study, published by BMC Public Health, focused on women in Bangladesh. Unlike other studies of its nature, this one is unique in that the subjects are not part of the Western world.

While adverse circumstances such as poor nutrition and poverty can affect a child’s health and ability to survive, this study shows that mental health problems play an even bigger role in children’s health and infant mortality rates.

Researchers studied over 700 women in two rural areas near Bangladesh. All the women were in their third trimester. They were assessed for antepartum depression and anxiety. They were followed for up to 8 months after giving birth.

The babies born to the women who were diagnosed with anxiety or depression (18% of the subjects) were much more likely to be quite small at birth than those babies born to the other women. There is a strong connection between death in infancy and low birth weight, making the findings of this study very concerning. Providing mental health services in these countries may help decrease the child mortality rate.

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