• growth;
  • infant;
  • post-natal depression


Aim  To examine the association between maternal post-natal depression and infant growth.

Background  Infant growth has recently been shown, in two studies from South Asia, to be adversely affected by maternal depression in the early post-partum period. It is uncertain whether a similar association obtains in developing countries outside Asia.

Method  A sample of 147 mother–infant dyads was recruited from a peri-urban settlement outside Cape Town and seen at 2 and 18 months post partum.

Results  No clear effect of post-partum depression on infant growth was found. Although maternal depression at 2 months was found to be associated with lower infant weight at 18 months, when birthweight was considered this effect disappeared.

Conclusions  Possible explanations for the non-replication of the South Asian findings are considered.