Prenatal depression soars 50 per cent in a generation, new study finds

 Depression during pregnancy is on the rise due to an an increase in women in work combined with pressure from social media, experts have said  A new study reveals an “alarming” 50 per cent rise in levels of prenatal depression in a single generation  Researchers believe that while many women continue working throughout the bulk of their pregnancy due to career aspiration, others are forced to stay in their jobs longer than they would like because of financial demands such as increased house prices  Both are contributing to a rise in anxiety among expectant mothers, with a “compare and compete” culture on platforms such as Facebook also fueling the trend  The study by the University of Bristol questioned pregnant women aged 19 to 24 between 1990 and 1992, and then between 2012 and 2016  Of the first generation, 17 per cent had high depressive symptoms scores, while the among the second generation the proportion had risen to 25 per cent  Prenatal depression has been linked to a higher risk of emotional, behavioural and cognitive difficulties among offspring  Dr Rebecca Pearson, who led the research, said: “Pregnancy is getting harder Symptoms | Depression  “We know that employment among young women has increased massively in a generation, both because they want to work, which is great, but also because they can’t afford not to  “You often need two incomes to afford a house these days

It’s increasing anxiety levels ”  Dr Pearson said the the 2012 to 2016 cohort were informative because they were the “prime Facebook generation”, who would have begun using the social media platform during adolescence  Many couples now announce their pregnancies on Facebook, for instance by posting the picture of a scan  Waiting for “likes” and comments is likely to be contributing to heightened rates of depression, said Dr Pearson, adding social media gives a false impression that other expectant mothers are coping better  She cautioned, however, that the increase in antenatal depression comes amid the context or rising depression and anxiety generally among young women  "Chronic stress, sleep deprivation, eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, and the fast pace of modern life may be contributing to an increasing prevalence of depression among young people generally," she said  "The impact of such changes may be amplified when a woman becomes pregnant It’s worrying ”  The Royal College of Midwives said social isolation from family and friends is also likely to be playing a role, as well as cuts to support services such as parent groups and children’s centres

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