If you’re a depressed mom, you might not be giving your children everything they need to develop to their full potential. That doesn’t mean you can’t; it just means you’ve got to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

A new study followed Chilean mothers and children from ages one to 16. They found that mothers who showed signs of depression tended to raise children with significantly lower IQ scores (7.3 versus 7.8).

Researchers cite less affection along with less attention to providing appropriate learning materials (like books and toys) as reasons for the disparity.

The good news is there’s help for depressed moms. Health care providers need to be paying attention and looking out for symptoms, but if you’re a friend or a spouse, you can help too. If you think a mom in your life might be depressed, encourage her to seek help. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can make a huge difference — not only for the mom, but for the whole family.

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