World Mental Healthcare Association

Depression During Pregnancy Affects Mother-Infant Relationships, Study Says

Depression During Pregnancy
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Mental Health News: Depression, either before or during pregnancy, reduces the quality of mother-infant interaction at both eight weeks and 12 months after their babies were born.

For the research, the team created 131 women divided them into three groups – women with clinically significant depression in pregnancy, healthy women with no current or past depression, and women with a lifetime history of depression but healthy pregnancies.

The research team monitored the mother-infant interaction at both eight weeks and 12 months after the birth of the babies. 62% in the group of mothers with depression during pregnancy and 56% in the group of mothers with a history-only of depression scored in the lowest category of mother-infant relationship quality. They showed decreased social-interactive behaviour.

“Our findings suggest that perinatal mental health professionals should offer support not only to women with depression during pregnancy but also to pregnant women with a history of depression, as they may also be at risk of interaction difficulties. Future research should try to understand why a history of depression, despite a healthy perinatal period, may impact the developing relationship,” said Dr Rebecca Bind, lead author of the study.

The study findings have important implications for healthcare professionals to provide parenting and birth classes and health visits to pregnant women at risk of interaction difficulties. Educate them about positive caring behaviours and understanding the needs of their babies.

To Know More You May Refer To

Bind, R. H., Biaggi, A., Bairead, A., Du Preez, A., Hazelgrove, K., Waites, F., Conroy, S., Dazzan, P., Osborne, S., Pawlby, S., Sethna, V., & Pariante, C. M. (2021). Mother–infant interaction in women with depression in pregnancy and in women with a history of depression: The psychiatry research and motherhood – Depression (PRAM-D) study. BJPsych Open, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2021.52

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