Maternal depression is a global public health concern that occurs before and after pregnancy and largely affects the mental health and daily life of a woman. The CDC states that 1 in every 9 women can experience postpartum depression which occurs after having a baby. Often, this type of depression women face goes undiagnosed and they do not receive treatment. Recent studies have concluded that a mother’s depression can have long term impacts on her child. Investigators found that mothers with depression have higher amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone, and SIgA, an antibody that indicates an activation of the immune system. Additionally, in studies of these same mother’s behaviors, their actions are found to be more insensitive and intrusive in regards to the treatment of their child causing the child’s stress level to be greatly impacted. Results also pointed to higher levels of SIgA in children of mothers facing maternal depression meaning their immune systems are more frequently disrupted. They also show that these children have behavioral tendencies such as being more withdrawn and more psychiatric symptoms compared to the control group. Children are found to be largely impacted by maternal depression due to a change in their immune system and how they respond to social and stressful situations. Dr. Ruth Feldman, leader and publisher of these studies from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, concluded “Our findings show the complex effects of maternal depression on children’s physiology, health, and psychopathology and advocate the need for early interventions that specifically target maternal stress and enhance parenting behavior.” Mental health intervention in the situation of maternal depression is very important because it not only impacts the mother, but the child as well.

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