Maternal anxiety during pregnancy

van den Heuvel, M. I., et al. (2015). Maternal mindfulness during pregnancy and infant socio-emotional development and temperament: The mediating role of maternal anxiety. Early Human Development, 91(2), 103-108.

• We examined whether maternal prenatal mindfulness affects infant behaviour.
• Maternal prenatal mindfulness reduced infant self-regulation problems.
• Maternal prenatal mindfulness also reduced infant negative affectivity.
• Maternal anxiety mediated the effect of mindfulness on infant self-regulation.

From the Abstract. Accumulating evidence shows that maternal anxiety during pregnancy adversely affects child outcomes. The positive effects of maternal psychosocial factors during pregnancy on child outcomes are not yet studied. This prospective study addresses the association between maternal mindfulness during pregnancy and socio-emotional development and temperament in 10 months-old infants. We also investigated whether this association was mediated by maternal anxiety.

Method: Mothers (N = 90) provided information about mindfulness and anxiety at the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy. Infant socio-emotional development and temperament were assessed at age 10 months.

Conclusion: These results suggest that maternal mindfulness during pregnancy may have positive effects on infant development. This association may be mediated by reduced anxiety symptoms in pregnant women who score high on mindfulness.