OSU Study: Depression In Pregnancy, Low Birth Weight Tied To Biomarker

Women with low levels of BDNF protein have higher risk of depression, low birth weight

As many as one in seven women suffer from depression during pregnancy, which not only impacts the moo
d of the mother, but also the health of the baby. Now, researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have linked the issue to a certain protein found in the brain.

“We found that levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, decline pretty significantly from early to late pregnancy, and that causes a wide range of issues,” said Lisa Christian, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and lead author of the study. “Women
who had steeper declines of BDNF had a greater risk for depression late in pregnancy and also had a higher risk for delivering babies of low birth weight.”

BDNF helps to regulate mood in all of us, but in pregnant women, it’s also needed to form and maintain the placenta and assist with the baby’s brain development.

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