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Pediatrics. 2004 Jun;113(6):e523-9.

Maternal depressive symptoms and infant health practices among low-income women.

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  • 1Division of General Pediatrics, A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and Thomas Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the relationships between maternal depressive symptoms and the use of infant health services, parenting practices, and injury-prevention measures.

METHODS:

A prospective, community-based survey of women attending Philadelphia public health centers between February 2000 and November 2001 was conducted. Women were surveyed at 3 time points before and after parturition. Depressive symptoms were determined with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale at each time point. We studied 6 outcomes, clustered into 3 categories: 1) infant health service use (adequate well-child care and ever being hospitalized); 2) parenting practices (breastfeeding for > or =1 month and use of corporal punishment); and 3) injury-prevention measures (having a smoke alarm and using the back sleep position).

RESULTS:

The sample consisted of 774 largely single (74%), uninsured (63%), African American (65%) women, with a mean age of 24 +/- 6 years and a mean annual income of 8063 dollars. Forty-eight percent of women had depressive symptoms at 1 or 2 time points (ever symptoms) and 12% had depressive symptoms at all points (persistent symptoms). Compared with women who never had depressive symptoms (without symptoms), women with persistent symptoms were nearly 3 times as likely to have their child ever hospitalized (adjusted odds ratio: 2.89; 95% confidence interval: 1.61-5.07) and twice as likely to use corporal punishment (adjusted odds ratio: 1.90; 95% confidence interval: 1.08-3.34). Mothers with persistent depressive symptoms were nearly three-quarters less likely to have smoke alarms in their homes (adjusted odds ratio: 0.28; 95% confidence interval: 0.11-0.70) and one-half as likely to use the back sleep position (adjusted odds ratio: 0.56; 95% confidence interval: 0.35-0.91), compared with women without symptoms. There was no association between maternal depressive symptoms and infant receipt of well-child care or the likelihood of breastfeeding for > or =1 month.

CONCLUSIONS:

Maternal depressive symptoms persisting from the prepartum to postpartum periods were associated with increased risks of infant hospitalization and use of corporal punishment and with lower likelihood of having a smoke alarm and using the back sleep position. Additional efforts are needed to identify and evaluate mothers with depressive symptoms to improve the health and safety of young infants.

PMID:
15173532
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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