Logo of archdischArchives of Disease in ChildhoodVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
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


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.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (106K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Cooper PJ, Murray L. Postnatal depression. BMJ. 1998 Jun 20;316(7148):1884–1886. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Weinberg MK, Tronick EZ. The impact of maternal psychiatric illness on infant development. J Clin Psychiatry. 1998;59 (Suppl 2):53–61. [PubMed]
  • Patel Vikram, Rodrigues Merlyn, DeSouza Nandita. Gender, poverty, and postnatal depression: a study of mothers in Goa, India. Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Jan;159(1):43–47. [PubMed]
  • Miller HC, Hassanein K. Diagnosis of impaired fetal growth in newborn infants. Pediatrics. 1971 Oct;48(4):511–522. [PubMed]
  • Rickards AL, Kitchen WH, Doyle LW, Kelly EA. Correction of developmental and intelligence test scores for premature birth. Aust Paediatr J. 1989 Jun;25(3):127–129. [PubMed]
  • Godbole K, Barve S, Chaudhari S. Early predictors of neurodevelopmental outcome in high risk infants. Indian Pediatr. 1997 Jun;34(6):491–495. [PubMed]
  • Patel V, Abas M, Broadhead J, Todd C, Reeler A. Depression in developing countries: lessons from Zimbabwe. BMJ. 2001 Feb 24;322(7284):482–484. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cooper PJ, Tomlinson M, Swartz L, Woolgar M, Murray L, Molteno C. Post-partum depression and the mother-infant relationship in a South African peri-urban settlement. Br J Psychiatry. 1999 Dec;175:554–558. [PubMed]
  • Murray L, Cooper P. Effects of postnatal depression on infant development. Arch Dis Child. 1997 Aug;77(2):99–101. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Holden JM, Sagovsky R, Cox JL. Counselling in a general practice setting: controlled study of health visitor intervention in treatment of postnatal depression. BMJ. 1989 Jan 28;298(6668):223–226. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wickberg B, Hwang CP. Counselling of postnatal depression: a controlled study on a population based Swedish sample. J Affect Disord. 1996 Jul 29;39(3):209–216. [PubMed]
  • Patel V. The need for treatment evidence for common mental disorders in developing countries. Psychol Med. 2000 Jul;30(4):743–746. [PubMed]

Articles from Archives of Disease in Childhood are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...