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Postnatal depression and infant growth and development in low income countries: a cohort study from Goa, India
  1. V Patel1,
  2. N DeSouza2,
  3. M Rodrigues2
  1. 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2Sangath Centre for Child Development & Family Guidance, Goa 403521, India
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr V Patel, Sangath Centre, 841/1 Alto Porvorim, Goa 403521, 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.

  • growth
  • postnatal depression
  • developing country
  • development
  • CI, confidence interval
  • DASII, Developmental Assessment Scale for Indian Infants
  • EPDS, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale
  • MeDQ, mental development quotient
  • MoDQ, motor development quotient
  • PND, postnatal depression
  • RR, risk ratio
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