As a mother, you share a very powerful bond with your child. Although your physical connection ends with the cutting of the umbilical cord, your emotional and psychological attachment is never severed; whatever you feel affects your child in more ways than you think.

A recent study featured on ScienceDaily.com links the mental health of mothers to Functional Somatic Symptoms (FSS) in children. FSS include headaches, body pain, dizziness, and fatigue. Currently, there is no explanation regarding the causes of these symptoms.

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Researcher Charlotte Ulrikka Rask of the Aarhus University Hospital and her colleagues from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark collected data from 1,327 children from the time of infancy until they were five to seven years old. They assessed three factors, which include the child’s ability to self-regulate (sleep, feed, touch, react, etc.), the mother’s postnatal mental health, and their household’s annual income.

Results showed that 23.2 percent of the participating children had FSS, while 4.4 percent had severe cases. Those whose mothers have been diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety during their infancy were seven times more likely to develop the condition, while those with early self-regulating issues had three times the risk of FSS between ages five and seven.

Dr. Rask stresses the importance of addressing the psychological needs of mothers who are having postnatal issues, "Interventions should include strategies to improve maternal mental health and parents' ability to handle the infant's regulatory problems, as well as strategies that focus on infants who have multiple regulatory problems."

If you feel that you’re experiencing postpartum depression, immediately seek professional help. This may not only improve your emotional and mental health, but also secure your child’s future well-being.

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(Photo by Rachael Tomster via Flickr Creative Commons)

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