Depression and autism: are they related to infections during pregnancy?

One study found that pregnant women who had a serious infection (such as pneumonia , flu , urinary tract) during pregnancy have children who are more likely to develop depression or autism .

Many of these diseases can be prevented through immunization.

Therefore, the researchers reinforce that the vaccination needs to be up to date, as contracting a serious illness during the baby’s formation can leave physical and brain sequelae in them, the scientists believe.

Children who had contact with infections while in the womb were about 79% more likely to be diagnosed with depression in adulthood and 24% more likely to be born with autism.

The research was done through a data survey between the years 1973 and 2014 in Sweden. In total, 1,791,520 children were studied. The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

In addition, experts believe that both serious infections and urinary infections have the same risk for the baby.

The results could not exactly determine the relationship between urinary infections and brain formation. However, it is known that the increase or decrease in inflammatory cells can have effects on brain formation.

How to perceive depression in children?

Children may find it difficult to say that they are depressed, as they cannot describe some emotions or symptoms.

But observing some signs and behaviors can help those responsible:

  • Sleep : the child’s sleep is interrupted by nightmares. As she is afraid of being alone, it is common to frequently ask for the presence of an adult she trusts;
  • “Too quiet” : if a child who has always had an agitated behavior starts to be withdrawn, quiet and not in the mood to play, it may be an alert of a problem;
  • Difficulty at school or with peers : if the child has difficulty in all school subjects and is unable to learn, talk to the teachers. This is also true for children who do not play in a group or with their peers;
  • Changes in appetite : if the child changes appetite or eating habits quickly, it can be a symptom of depression.

If the symptoms above manifest and persist, take the child to a child psychologist.

Read more: Social media increases symptoms of depression in teenagers

How to perceive autism in children?

Autism can manifest itself to varying degrees. The important thing is to pay attention to the child’s behavior and, if in doubt, take him to the doctor.

For the diagnosis of autism, an evaluation by a professional team (pediatrician, psychologists and teachers) is required.

In general, you can see:

  • Sociability : the child with autism does not show interest in people around him or respond when called, especially by strangers. Many do not play in groups and prefer to be alone;
  • Communication : people with autism have a hard time learning to speak or make gestures. When speech begins, the child may have difficulty in forming sentences that make sense or repeating the same word several times;
  • Repetition : one of the main characteristics of autism is the repetition of movements, gestures or words. Clapping hands, shaking the body and organizing toys instead of playing with them are examples of such behaviors.

Read more: Virtual reality: how technology can help children with autism

Prenatal care and ultrasound scans during pregnancy are essential for the health of the baby and the mother. If you have an infection during pregnancy, treat it with due care. If in doubt, go to the doctor.