A study has claimed that babies who have mothers dealing with anxiety or depression show more signs of stress than those who have healthy mothers. Scientists have carried out a standard stress test to determine the stress levels among young babies. The infants with mothers who have depression or anxiety issues have shown a significantly increased heart rate. Experts have said that such a condition can lead to imprinted emotional trauma as the child grows up. Scientists have said that a positive interaction between mother and child is very crucial for the healthy development of the child. As per the study, mothers who have been dealing with depression, anxiety, or postnatal depression are supposed to instill insecurities in the children, as they grow old.
Mood swings and mild depression are quite common among at least 10 to 20 percent of women during pregnancy and postpartum. Experts have observed the effect of emotionally distant mothers on infants in a popular experiment called ‘Still Face Test’. During this test, mothers have been asked to playfully interact with their babies for some time in phase one, and in the second phase, they have been asked to stop all the interaction with the infants for some time. Experts have found that babies, who have anxious and stressed mothers have exhibited increased negative emotionality in the second phase. Such babies have also shown reduced social engagement and evading behaviors.
The findings of the test have revealed that in phase one, where mothers withdraw the attention, babies of depressed and anxious mothers have experienced a significant rise in the heart rate as compared to the babies who have healthy and happy moms. These infants have been categorized for having more difficult temperaments as well than babies who are raised by happy mothers. Experts have revealed that for the first time this kind of physical effect has been seen in 3 months old infants as well. Scientists have said this can lead to other imprinted psychological stress as well in young babies. Nearly 50 mothers and their babies have been enrolled in this study. Around 20 mothers have been showing signs of depression and anxiety since the time of childbirth. Researchers have found that babies of depressed mothers have a more sensitive psychological retort to stress during the test.