Impact minLeft untreated, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can lead to long-term depression in the mother, a lack of emotional availability for the baby and detrimental outcomes in the development of the fetus, newborn and developing child.  The following is a list of additional impacts:

ON MOTHER 

  • Increased risk of substance abuse
  • Increased risk of smoking
  • Decreased likelihood of attending prenatal visits
  • Chronic depression and/or anxiety
  • Increased complications of pregnancy

ON PARENTING

  • Increase in child abuse and neglect
  • Less likely to play, talk, read with infant
  • Less likely to follow routines and safety practices
  • Decreased duration of breastfeeding
  • Less likely to follow up on pediatric recommendations

ON FETUS AND INFANT

  • Increased likelihood of low birth weight and pre-term birth
  • Poor attachment to mother or primary caregiver
  • Increased dysregulation, irritability, crying, hypervigilance, low activity or tone
  • Increased level of stress hormones, including cortisol

ON DEVELOPING CHILD

  • Cognitive, emotional and developmental delays
  • Learning difficulties o Later walking, talking and other developmental milestones
  • Increased risk for developing anxiety or depression at young age
  • Increased aggression
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends

ON PARTNER AND FAMILY

  • Increased feelings of helplessness and depression in partners
  • Older children impacted
  • Grief and feelings of loss and confusion in family
  • Divorce, marital conflict

ON INTER-GENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION

  • Trauma of having a mother with untreated perinatal depression is often passed down from one generation to the next