Kieran O'Donnell featured on CTV News Montreal

Published: 25 November 2019

HBHL-funded researcher Dr. Kieran O'Donnell recently appeared on CTV News Montreal to discuss the HBHL-funded Montreal Antenatal Well-Being Study. Watch the full interview here, where Dr. O'Donnell discusses the project's goals, initial findings, and more.

About the Montreal Antenatal Well-Being Study (from the Douglas Research Centre)

As many as one in five mothers experience anxiety or depression during pregnancy, the experience of which is associated with detrimental outcomes for both mothers and their children. For example, maternal suicide is a leading cause of death in the prenatal period. Likewise, research shows that a mother's prenatal mental health can affect her child's development, including cognitive and socio-emotional development. Little is understood about how biological, social and psychological factors combine to increase women's risk of experiencing adverse mental health during pregnancy. Neither do we understand why some children experience the developmental affects of prenatal mental health while others do not. 

The Montreal Antenatal Well-Being Study is one of the largest studies in Canada to better understand how biological, social and psychological factors combine to influence women’s mental health and well-being  during pregnancy and the postpartum period. We are also seeking to understand when the best time is to screen pregnant women for anxiety and depression. We hope that, in the future, this will allow us to better support women who need help to boost their mood during pregnancy.

About Dr. O'Donnell

Dr. O’Donnell is a leading expert in perinatal influences on early-childhood development, and the biological embedding of early adversity. His work examines how the early environment shapes child development. This multidisciplinary work combines genetic, epigenetic and epidemiological approaches to identify those at-risk for adverse mental health outcomes. He also seeks to better understand the molecular mechanisms by which positive and nurturing environments mediate their positive effects on child neurodevelopment.

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