Genes can influence babies’ intelligence and development of mental illness. Can we do something to avoid it?
Pregnancy is a very special moment for each mother, since each baby is a unique and unrepeatable living being, as they say, and just as the doctor who took my prenatal check-up told me.
At that moment I did not give much importance to his words, until the moment my son was born and I saw his face, then I knew he was right: he was very different from me and at the same time identical. He was just as small as the other babies, and at the same time, I could never mistake him for another, even though I had just met him.
Genetics and Heredity
Each child that is conceived and born has a DNA different from that of its parents, and in turn shares with them many genes, and therefore similar physical characteristics. Genes are basic units of inheritance. Humans have millions of genes, and each one encodes a certain characteristic, such as: eye color, blood type, or curls in the hair.
Because of this, some children look identical to one or both parents, or even the mini “me” of their grandparents or other relatives. This happens because certain genes are inherited by skipping generations; and in other cases children have really different characteristics between siblings, since their phenotypic expression is different even though they share many genes.
Not only traits are inherited, so are diseases
The inheritance of traits sounds a nice thing, since most parents want their baby to be like one of their parents or grandparents; but unfortunately there is also the dark side of genetic inheritance, which is when disorders, diseases and even low IQ are genetically inherited.
This can happen because gene packages can be altered in many ways, and these “changes” prevent proteins from working normally, creating a mutation that has no turning back.
In addition, the environment also affects the way in which the cells of our body function, that is why some mutations can cause diseases and disorders that can be inherited.
Currently, many scientists and geneticists have undertaken the task of investigating more, on these topics related to heredity, the central nervous system, emotions and IQ, with incredible results and discoveries.
There are some factors (not always obvious) that can affect the future physical and cognitive health of a baby from pregnancy, although most of today’s doctors do not always mention them in their consultations.
1. Low emotional intelligence and depression in parents
According to an article from the University of Santo Tomás, in Colombia, Major Depressive Disorder has a high correlation to the load of genes, since these can be inherited with a high probability. In the case of women with a family history have almost a 50% risk of suffering from major depression associated with this factor, affirms the study.
The hardest thing about this is that this disorder is characterized by one or more severe depressive episodes, but no manic episodes. Major Depressive Disorder is a common psychiatric disease in the population, and it is not only characterized by irregularity of affect and mood, but also by abnormality at the cognitive level making it deficient and other physical complications.
Likewise, in parallel, it is a disorder that affects all life patterns, such as the family environment, personal relationships and working conditions of those who suffer from it, creating a lot of stigma and even a bad image.
2. Age of parents influences IQ and schizophrenia
Like the data above, it is surprising how genetics can play tricks on us. According to astudy published in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine, those children whose parents, specifically boys, were older (after forty years), showed a lower IQ in psychometric tests, compared to children of younger parents (before forty years).
They also found an important correlation with schizophrenia, which is characterized by hallucinations and loss of contact with reality, which puts those who suffer from it at very high risk. When one of the parents is schizophrenic, the child is likely to be schizophrenic in the future as well, since he carries that genetics.
3. Stress during pregnancy
To achieve a properly developed nervous system in a baby, the brain has to go through some stress. But also, it is very significant not to fall into excess on the part of the mother, since a very intense emotion could cause harm to the baby.
Precisely for this reason, a team of doctors from Johns Hopkins University conducted a investigation with a sample of pregnant women who at the time of the study were physically and mentally healthy.
In this experiment, records were kept of the stress level of the mother and baby during their pregnancy, and before the children were two years old. In addition, the specialists also additionally measured the cognitive abilities of their children in correlation.
As a result, the babies of mothers who had experienced a mild or moderate stress load were found to be more advanced in intelligence, as well as in their physical condition.
But on the contrary, if you experience a lotstress in pregnancythe baby’s intelligence and physical conditions are diminished.
In the field of medicine and genetics there is still much to discover, but something very important that we can do from our place is to inform ourselves , put the perinatal controls at bay, and be very attentive to those small details of family history that can mark a great difference in the development of our children in the future.