Can anxiety affect the baby still inside the belly?
A new finding could mean less weight on the shoulders of mothers who already suffer from psychic disorders and still had to worry about whether or not their anxiety or panic disorder would affect their unborn babies.

Although previous research has suggested that anxiety and panic disorders in pregnant women could have negative outcomes for their babies, such as low birth weight and premature birth, new findings from Yale researchers do not support this finding.

The recent study, published Nov. 1 in the Journal of Psychiatry JAMA Psychiatry, was based on interviews with more than 2,600 women during pregnancy and in the weeks that followed. According to the researchers, ninety-eight participants presented positive criteria for the panic syndrome and 252 for generalized anxiety disorder. 67 reported having taken benzodiazepine (anxiety medication) medications at some time during pregnancy and 293 using some form of serotonin (antidepressant) inhibitors.

Relevance of the study
These new findings are more reliable than the previous ones, as they are based on prospective analyzes of a large group of women. According to Kimberly Ann Yonkers, a psychiatrist and teacher at Yale, the evidence found is stronger than previous evidence that was based on the medical records diagnosis. According to the doctor, they now have “a detailed assessment of what psychiatric illnesses they have had, as well as the medication they have taken.

In addition, there was an exclusion methodology that made the study even more reliable as researchers statistically controlled factors that could have produced an apparent association between pregnancy-related disorders and complications such as drinking, smoking and using drugs. The result was that having panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder was not, in itself, associated with neonatal complications.

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The medication can affect the baby
The researchers also concluded that the use of benzodiazepines was associated with an increase in the occurrence of low birth weight, cesarean delivery and neonatal respiratory distress.

Serotonin inhibitors were associated with preterm birth, hypertensive pregnancy and need for respiratory intervention after childbirth.

However, according to Dr. Yonkers, the effects were relatively unusual and mild, less bad than smoking in pregnancy, for example. ”

Conclusion
According to Janice Goodman , a professor of nursing at Massachusetts General Hospital who is not involved in the above research but is a doctor in pregnancy and anxiety, “Medications used to treat these disorders may have mild adverse outcomes, but the risks and benefits of using medication to treat anxiety during pregnancy should be carefully weighed and non-pharmacological treatments considered preferentially. ”

Although further studies are needed to define the type of medication, time of treatment and safe doses for pregnant women, “the data are very comforting in relation to the diseases, because they are not series of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. ” Highlights Dr. Yonkers.

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