Infants whose mothers have taken SSRI antidepressants are more likely to have decreased birth weight, gestational length

Source: Infants whose mothers have taken SSRI antidepressants are more likely to have decreased birth weight, gestational length

A new study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, has found that prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has a significant association with lower birth weight and gestational length. This was found to be in cases where mothers had taken the drug for two or more trimesters.

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Fathers’ age, lifestyle associated with birth defects

Source: Fathers’ age, lifestyle associated with birth defects

A growing body of research is revealing associations between birth defects and a father’s age, alcohol use and environmental factors, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center. They say these defects result from epigenetic alterations that can potentially affect multiple generations.

Prenatal stress could enhance protective mechanisms of babies

Source: Prenatal stress could enhance protective mechanisms of babies

Maternal stress and depression during pregnancy may activate certain protective mechanisms in babies. Psychologists from the University of Basel together with international colleagues report that certain epigenetic adaptations in newborns suggest this conclusion. Their results have been published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

In their study, the researchers observed that increased concentrations of hormones, depressive symptoms and general adversities during pregnancy were accompanied by epigenetic changes in the child. As a result of these changes the oxytocin receptor gene, which is important for and stress adaptations, is activated more easily. This mechanism could indicate that in these cases, the babies adapt to develop more resilience to cope with future challenges and adversities.