Mothers of ‘Fussy’ Babies May be at Risk for Postpartum Depression

New research from journal Academic Pediatrics
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Approximately one in 10 new mothers experiences postpartum depression. Researchers have now identified a particular group of moms providers may need to closely screen for depressive symptoms and, not surprisingly, it’s mothers of fussy babies.

In a study led by University of Michigan researchers that was reported in the journal Academic Pediatrics, mothers of highly irritable infants experienced greater depressive symptoms. The nationally representative study included data from more than 8,200 children and their parents. 

Researchers found that mothers of preterm, fussy infants who were born at 24-31 weeks gestation had about twice the odds of experiencing mild depressive symptoms compared to moms of preterm infants who weren’t fussy.

Mothers of fussy babies born during 32-36 weeks gestation, a period researchers termed “moderate-late preterm” — as well as mothers of full-term infants — were about twice as likely to report moderate to severe depressive symptoms as moms of less irritable babies born at the same gestational age.

Researchers also found that maternal characteristics associated with prenatal stress and socioeconomic disadvantages — such as lower income, unmarried status and smoking — were associated with greater odds of both mild and moderate-severe maternal depressive symptoms.

The study is also believed to be the first to explore whether the degree of a baby’s prematurity in combination with infant fussiness may influence the severity of maternal depressive symptoms. Learn more here.


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