Anxious Mothers Are More Likely To Have Babies Who Cry For Longer – Study

According to a recently published study, women who experience stress, worry or panic attacks before becoming pregnant are more than twice as likely to report that their child cried ‘excessively’.

It is not known why this link exists, but researchers said mothers suffering from anxiety may have a more ‘intrusive’ parenting style that could cause babies to cry more.

Experts also suggest a baby’s excessive crying may be due to the mother’s production of stress hormones during pregnancy, which may cross the placenta and affect the development of a child’s brain.

The study, published in the journal Archives Of Disease In Childhood, looked at nearly 300 women who were in the early stages of pregnancy.

They were asked about their history of anxiety and depression, and were interviewed during their pregnancy and until their child was 16 months old.

Ten per cent of the women reported excessive crying following the birth. Further analysis found that babies born to women with an anxiety disorder were significantly more likely to cry for longer periods.

Child health specialist Dr Harriet Hiscock, from the University of Melbourne, warned that the role of the father also needed to be examined and cautioned against adding to ‘a mother’s day of worry by blaming her for her infant’s crying’..

GP Dr Clare Bailey, a parenting specialist, commenting on the study said:

‘Mothers can easily get into a traumatic negative cycle when worrying about a newborn child. The more they worry, the less they sleep and calm themselves down and the more they worry.

‘Anxiety can make them hypervigilant, distressed by crying and even rejected by their child.

‘It intuitively sounds likely that a calm mother feeling relaxed, comfortable and confident will be more likely to help a child regulate its crying, while an anxious mother may be less likely to help a baby to self-settle. Babies can pick up emotional cues very early on.’

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At What Age Should You Have A Baby?

Scientists have revealed the perfect age for parents to start a family and why, and this might come as a surprise to many.To have the best chance of having just one child naturally, couples should start trying to conceive when the female is aged under 32. But for those yearning for two children, the woman should be about 27.

And to have three children, the new research indicates that women should only wait until they are 23 to start trying to become pregnant.

The researchers, from Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said the latest female age that a couple should start trying to become pregnant depended on the importance of achieving their desired family size and their views on IVF.

If couples would consider IVF, those wanting a one-child family could wait until the woman was 35, but 31 was the cap for two children and 28 for three children.

While the results may come as a surprise to many young couples, it may also be reassuring for those aiming for a smaller family.

“For couples who are content with one child and do not wish a very high chance of success: they can start at age 37 for a 75 per cent (chance of success) and 41 years for a 50 per cent success chance,” lead researcher Professor Dik Habbema wrote in the journal Human Reproduction.

The ages were based on a model that combined fertility and IVF success rates for 10,000 couples and assumed the gap between babies was 15 months.

He wrote that many young people were “too optimistic” about their chance of conceiving after 35 and “miracle stories in the media” inflated the success of IVF.

“When there is so much information out there about celebrities having babies in their 40s, when the chances of success are so low (unless they use donor eggs), it creates unrealistic expectations,” Louise Johnson Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority CEO said.

“IVF does not provide a silver bullet for age-related infertility.”

It has partnered with Family Planning Victoria to design a fertility education guide for primary and secondary teachers.

“Children need to know about this technology and how it is used to create families,” Ms Johnson said.

A Melbourne mother of three children Alix Blackshaw is only 28, but she has already completed her family.

The registered nurse said both her and her husband, Dwain, were from big families and knew they wanted to have at least three children

“It’s all about personal preference, but it was my intention to have them all before the age of 30 and with a close age gap,” she said.

The benefits are that she will only be in her mid 30s when all her children start school, but it has also meant she has not been able to go travelling.


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