Antenatal and postpartum depressive symptoms are differentially associated with early childhood weight and adiposity

Authors


Dr Karen A. Ertel, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
E-mail: kertel@hsph.harvard.edu

Summary

Ertel KA, Koenen KC, Rich-Edwards JW, Gillman MW. Antenatal and postpartum depressive symptoms are differentially associated with early childhood weight and adiposity. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2010; 24: 179–189.

Antenatal depression is associated with small-for-gestational age, but few studies have examined associations with weight during childhood. Similarly, few studies address whether antenatal and postpartum depression differentially affect child weight. Among 838 mother–child dyads in Project Viva, a prospective cohort study, we examined relationships of antenatal and postpartum depression with child weight and adiposity. We assessed maternal depression at mid-pregnancy and 6 months postpartum with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (score ≥13 indicating probable depression). We assessed child outcomes at age 3 years: body mass index (BMI) z-score, weight-for-height z-score, sum of subscapular (SS) and triceps (TR) skinfold thickness (SS + TR) for overall adiposity, and SS : TR ratio for central adiposity.

Sixty-nine (8.2%) women experienced antenatal depression and 59 (7.0%) postpartum depression. Mean (SD) outcomes at age 3 were: BMI z-score, 0.45 (1.01); SS + TR, 16.72 (4.03) mm; SS : TR, 0.64 (0.15). In multivariable models, antenatal depression was associated with lower child BMI z-score (−0.24 [95% confidence interval: −0.49, 0.00]), but higher SS : TR (0.05 [0.01, 0.09]). There was no evidence of a dose–response relationship between antenatal depression and these outcomes. Postpartum depression was associated with higher SS + TR (1.14 [0.11, 2.18]). In conclusion, whereas antenatal depression was associated with smaller size and central adiposity at age 3 years, postpartum depression was associated with higher overall adiposity.

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