One of the important differences between Homo sapiens and the other primates is the condition of pregnancy and birth. Because of the upright walk and the larger brain size of Homo sapiens, the birth channel became too narrow to accommodate birth after a long pregnancy. The evolutionary solution was the shortening of human pregnancy from about 21 months to only nine months. The consequence of this was the so-called “physiological prematurity” of human newborns.
Prenatal depression is a serious issue often overlooked by both women and their healthcare providers. Depression during pregnancy not only causes sadness for the mother, it can also have significant developmental effects on the fetus, including altering of the baby’s brain structure leading to increased vulnerability for mood disorders in the child’s future. Additionally, depression during pregnancy may cause early delivery, increasing infant morbidity and mortality.