Mom’s mental health affects baby’s language development

By Rachael Rettner

Moms Mental Health Affects BabyBoth having depression and taking antidepressants during pregnancy may affect an infant’s language development, new research suggests.

Study results reveal that a crucial language development period, during which infants learn to tune in to the sounds of their native language, is sped up when women take antidepressants, and prolonged when a woman has depression.

However, the researchers are not sure whether such speeding up or slowing down is beneficial or harmful in the long run, and it may not have any effect on a baby’s ultimate ability to acquire language, said Janet Werker, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.

Werker discussed her findings here at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting.

Babies are born with the ability to learn any language, and can distinguish between sounds of a variety of different tongues. However, by the age of 6 to 10 months, they begin to take more notice of the sounds of their native language, and are less able to discriminate between sounds of other languages.

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Will Savage

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