A bout of the flu during pregnancy could increase the unborn child’s risk of the developing bipolar disease later in life, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
The researcher examined a group of 814 expectant mothers and their children to find out how womb conditions affect the health of a child throughout his or her life. They found that when the mother was sick with the flu during her pregnancy, her child was four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder later in life.
However, experts note that the risk of bipolar disease due to a mother’s flu remains low overall, and that women should not be unduly worried about the findings. They do, however, advise pregnant women to receive a seasonal flu shot.
Bipolar disorder causes intense mood swing ranging from depression and despair to joy and loss of inhibition. These mood swings can sometimes last months at a time. The disorder does not usually present in children until their teenage years or their 20s.