Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 887–893

Postpartum Depression Prevalence and Impact on Infant Health, Weight, and Sleep in Low-Income and Ethnic Minority Women and Infants


  • Jenna L. Gress-Smith
    • Department of PsychologyArizona State University
    • Department of PsychologyArizona State University
  • Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant
    • Department of PsychologyArizona State University
  • Rose Howe
    • Maricopa County Department of Public Health

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-011-0812-y

Cite this article as:
Gress-Smith, J.L., Luecken, L.J., Lemery-Chalfant, K. et al. Matern Child Health J (2012) 16: 887. doi:10.1007/s10995-011-0812-y


This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of maternal depressive symptoms at 5 and 9 months postpartum in a low-income and predominantly Hispanic sample, and evaluate the impact on infant weight gain, physical health, and sleep at 9 months. Participants included 132 low-income mother-infant pairs who participated in a larger investigation on prenatal care utilization. Mothers were interviewed in person 24–48 h after birth and by phone at 5 and 9 months postpartum. Clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms were reported in 33% of the women at 5 months postpartum, and 38% at 9 months postpartum. Higher depressive symptoms at 5 months were associated with less infant weight gain from 5 to 9 months, p = .002, increased infant physical health concerns, p = .05, and increased infant nighttime awakenings at 9 months, p = .001. Results suggest a striking prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms through 9 months postpartum in this very low income, largely ethnic minority sample. Further, the effects of postpartum depression include significant ramifications for infant physical health.


Postpartum depressionBody weightInfantSleep

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011