Aim of the study To investigate whether functional gastrointestinal disorders (DFGIs), defined according to Rome III criteria, are associated with postpartum mood disorders.
Methods 113 mother/child pairs were enrolled in this perspective, longitudinal study. Maternal depressive symptoms were evaluated at birth, one and three months after delivery using Maternity Blues, Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Score (EPDS) and Symptom Check List for Anxiety and Depression. The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) was used to determine the attachment style of the mother. Any sign/symptom was recorded weekly for the first three months of life, together with type of feeding. Statistical analysis (SPSS software): χ2 test, student t-test, linear regression.
Results 37 (32,7%) newborns were exclusively BF. 16 (14,2%) newborns had regurgitation, 10 (9,7%) colics, 4 (3,5%) dischezia and 10 (9,7%) constipation. 60 (53,1%) mothers had postpartum depression and/or anxiety. 53,6% of infants with regurgitations had a depressed mother vs 23% of infants without regurgitations (χ2 =10,63, p = 0.003); 45,2% of infants with colics had a depressed mother vs 15,9% of infants without colics (χ2 =10,63, p = 0.001). A mother’s insecure attachment style was found in 36% of infants with persistence of regurgitations until third months of life vs 1,8% of infants with mother’s secure attachment style (p < 0.001).
Conclusion Postpartum maternal depressive symptoms and anxiety are associated with infantile colic and regurgitations. Screening and early intervention in cases of postpartum depression could be useful to avoid inappropriate nutritional and pharmacologic treatments, promoting the health of both mother and infant.