Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can a pregnant woman pass her disease to her child?"

ZocdocAnswersCan a pregnant woman pass her disease to her child?


If my wife gets pregnant will she give our child her diseases? She doesn't have anything serious but takes anti-depressants for anxiety? Does this mean our child will have anxiety too? Do mothers give their children all of their problems?


There are many different conditions that are considered hereditary. These are conditions that occur because of someone's genes. Conditions such as diabetes, bipolar disorder are examples of diseases that are more common in people that have parents with the conditions. Susceptibility to these types of conditions are usually passed down from either or both parents. Your genes will play as much of a role in your child's health as your wife's genes. Separate from the genetic issue is the issue of infections that can be passed from mother to child while the child is being carried. Infections such as rubella or HIV can be passed down. Anxiety is a complex psychiatric condition that has a genetic component. This means that if a parent has anxiety that requires treatment, it is more likely that the child will have it as well. This does not mean that your child will struggle with anxiety, it just means that his or her risk will be slightly higher than the average person. The same is true for many other conditions either you or your wife may have such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The best physician for you to discuss this with is your wife's OBGYN. He or she will be able to help you better understand the issues of inherited conditions.

Need more info?

See an obgyn today

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.