By Rachael Rettner
Both 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.
Full story of mental health affects at Fox News
By Sarah Costa
“There were no means of transport, so they prepared a bicycle. She lost a lot of blood and when she arrived at the district hospital, she wasn’t paid much attention. Around 6 a.m., both the mother and baby died. I witnessed it. The woman was 38 years-old.” These are the words of a man from the Kisumu district in Kenya, describing a pregnant woman in his community who had died while giving birth during the post-election violence that rocked the country in early 2008.
This kind of scenario plays out every day, around the world; more than 350,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing countries, where the lack of access to quality health care and information results in high fertility rates and closely spaced births, increasing women’s and girls’ risk of death and disability. Indeed, pregnancy can be a matter of life or death for women and girls in these places; and, their infants’ lives are in jeopardy as well.
Full story at Huffington Post