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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 60 (2018) 10, 699 - 709

Review article

Prenatal psychological stress and the development of affective disorders in children: literature review

M. Torbeyns, S. Claes, M. Morrens, T. Hompes

background The prenatal period appears to be important not only for the development of somatic disorders, but also for the development of psychiatric disorders. Stress and the way people deal with this may play an important role.
aim To investigate to what extent prenatal maternal psychological stress is a risk factor for the development of affective disorders in the child. and to demonstrate the importance of systematic screening of the psychological well-being of pregnant mothers and mothers with a pregnancy wish.
method A systematic literature review via a search in PubMed and Web of Science for articles in English or Dutch.
results Prenatal maternal anxiety, depression and subjectively experienced stress are important risk factors in the development of affective disorders in the child, influencing the development of both anxiety disorders and depression.
conclusion This literature research substantiates the fetal programming hypothesis in which prenatal maternal psychological stress (anxiety, depression and subjectively experienced stress) influences the development of affective disorders in the growing child.

keywords affective disorder