Study: Mom’s Depression During Child’s Infancy Could Stunt Growth

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A study published in the journal Pediatrics has found a connection between a mother’s depression after pregnancy and the future height of her child.

Researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University reportedly came to the conclusion after they poured over data found in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), the Doctor’s Lounge website reported.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the ECLS-B was created to provide interested parties with information regarding early life experiences of children by observing child health, development, education and care.

To separate the findings of their study into gradients, a depression scale used by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies was reportedly implemented to rate levels of postpartum depression experienced by new mothers at nine months, HealthDay News learned.

The results of the study dictated that an alleged 24 percent of mothers experienced mild symptoms of depression, while 17 percent described their depression as moderate-to-severe, when asked at nine months postpartum.

Children of mothers in the latter category reportedly experienced hindered growth as a possible result.

“After adjustment for household, maternal, and child factors, children of mothers with moderate to severe levels of depressive symptoms at [nine] months’ postpartum had a 40 [percent] increased odds of being [below the tenth percentile] in height-for-age at age 4 … and 48 [percent] increased odds of being [below the tenth percentile] in height-for-age at age 5 … compared with children of women with few or no depressive symptoms,” an abstract summary of the study stated.

These findings reportedly led researchers to one main conclusion.

“Maternal depressive symptoms during infancy may affect physical growth in early childhood,” the summary stated. “Prevention, early detection, and treatment of maternal depressive symptoms during the first year postpartum may prevent childhood height-for-age [ratios below the tenth] percentile among preschool- and school-aged children.”

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