14/08/2014 12:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Unborn Babies Can 'Catch' Depression From Their Mothers, According To New Research

Shutterstock / Igor Borodin
pregnant woman caressing her...

Pregnant women with depression can pass the condition on to their unborn babies.

New research suggests a combination of genetic and environmental factors can put children at an increased risk of anxiety and mood disorders.

This is due to changes in a part of children's brains called the amygdala, which is responsible for controlling emotion and stress and is linked to anxiety disorders.

The research was carried out by the National University of Singapore on 157 pregnant women.

Commenting on the findings, Dr John Krystal, from the University of Yale School of Medicine and the Editor of Biological Psychiatry, which published the research, said: "The notion that maternal depression might influence the brain development of their babies is very concerning.

"The good news is that this risk might be reduced by systematic screening of pregnant women for depression and initiating effective treatment."