News article

Impact of depression during pregnancy on maternal and infant outcomes

Posted:  Monday, July 25, 2016

Influence of depression during pregnancy on infant outcomes

The incidence of depression is common among women during pregnancy and after delivery. Depressed women tend to have poor food intake, which may adversely affect infant outcomes. A study published in Nutrition Journal assessed the association between depression during pregnancy and maternal dietary intake and infant outcomes.

A hospital-based cohort study was conducted on 82 pregnant women aged 18–49 years. The subjects were at the beginning of the 2nd trimester, had normal nutritional intake, and belonged to the middle-income group. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to screen depression in these pregnant women.

Information on demography, education, income, gestational age, and expected delivery date was collected using a questionnaire. Food intake was measured at the start of the study and on 36th week of gestation, using the 24-hour recall method and the food frequency checklist. Height and weight of the women were measured. Data on infant outcomes such as premature birth, low birth weight (LBW), and foetal growth retardation (FGR) were obtained from hospital records.

Out of 82 pregnant women, 32 were found to be depressed, of which 20% were severely depressed and 23% were moderately depressed. Depressed women belonged to households with a lower income and consumed lesser quantities of food, including eggs, milk, and fruits. Food intake in depressed pregnant women was 2.6-fold lower compared to non-depressed pregnant women. At the end of the study, the intake of protein and fat was 1.3- and 3.0-fold lower among depressed subjects compared to non-depressed subjects, respectively. The weight of the infants, gestational age, and Apgar score at 0 and 5 minutes were lower in the infants born to depressed women. Infants born to depressed women had growth restrictions and a higher incidence of premature birth.

Maternal depression was associated with higher rates of LBW, FGR, and prematurity in infants. The outcome of this study will be helpful to ordinary healthcare workers in identifying depressed pregnant women and helping to improving infant outcomes. Depressed mothers should be counselled about the adverse effects of depression on infant outcomes.

News source - Saeed A, Raana T, Saeed AM, Humayun A. Effect of antenatal depression on maternal dietary intake and neonatal outcome: a prospective cohort. Nutrition Journal. 2016 Jul 11; 15(1):1.