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Arch Dis Child. Jan 2003; 88(1): 34–37.
PMCID: PMC1719257

Postnatal depression and infant growth and development in low income countries: a cohort study from Goa, India

Abstract

Background: Postnatal depression is a recognised cause of delayed cognitive development in infants in developed countries. Being underweight is common in South Asia.

Aims: To determine whether postnatal depression contributes to poor growth and development outcomes in Goa, India.

Methods: Cohort study for growth outcomes with nested case-control study for developmental outcomes. A total of 171 babies were weighed and measured at 6–8 weeks following birth. The following measures were used: Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for maternal mood, and sociodemographic and infant health variables. Outcome measures were: weight (<5th centile), length (<5th centile), and Developmental Assessment Scale for Indian Infants scores at six months.

Results: Postnatal depression was a strong, and independent, predictor of low weight and length and was significantly associated with adverse mental development quotient scores.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the first time that postnatal depression, a potentially treatable disorder, is a cause of poor growth and development in South Asia.

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Selected References

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