Women with anxiety disorders may be more likely to have babies who cry excessively, suggests a new German study.Researchers already know that the children of women with anxiety disorders are more prone to develop anxiety themselves, according to Johanna Petzoldt. She led the current study at the Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at Dresden University of Technology.
“We found a relationship between maternal anxiety disorders prior to, during and after pregnancy, thus, mothers with prior anxiety disorders might represent a specific risk group for having an infant that will cry excessively,” Petzoldt tells Reuters Health in an email.
The researchers found that women who had an anxiety disorder before becoming pregnant were more likely to have a baby that cried excessively compared with women without an anxiety disorder.That was also the case when including women who developed an anxiety disorder during pregnancy or after giving birth, according to results published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Unlike in previous studies, the researchers did not find a clear association between maternal depression and excessive crying among infants.The study doesn’t prove women’s anxiety caused their babies to cry more - only that there was a link between the two. And the reasons for the association still aren’t clear.
More research is needed to learn more about maternal anxiety and depression and infant crying, Petzoldt says.“Women can have anxiety or depression during pregnancy and it can have negative consequences for the baby,” psychiatrist Dr. Ariela Frieder tells Reuters Health.
She says women who are pregnant and believe they may have anxiety should tell their OB/GYN and the doctor can refer them to the appropriate mental health professionals. Talk therapy could be one option for treatment.