A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry is underlining the importance of maternal psychological well-being during pregnancy for newborn infants.
According to German researchers at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, positive psychological well-being during pregnancy has potentially beneficial effects for a child’s future health, particularly by subsequently increased telomere length.
“Positive maternal psychological characteristics are biologically embedded and have a protective effect on the fetus,” Sonja Entringer, the study’s lead author, explained in a news release.
“This study underlines the importance of maternal psychological well-being during pregnancy in terms of the developmental programming of lifelong health and disease, and the significance of improved psychosocial support measures during pregnancy,” Estringer adds.
In the study conducted by Entringer and her team, a large study population of more than 600 mother and child pairs were evaluated.
“Maternal resilience (positivity accounting for stress) was significantly and positively associated with newborn telomere length, with each standard deviation increase in resilience predicting 12% longer newborn telomere length,” the co-authors concluded in their journal article.
“The results indicate that maternal psychological resilience may exert a salubrious effect on offspring telomere biology and highlight the importance of enhancing maternal mental health and well-being during pregnancy.”