Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 887–893 | Cite as

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

  • Jenna L. Gress-Smith
  • Linda J. LueckenEmail author
  • Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant
  • Rose Howe


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 depression Body weight Infant Sleep 



This research was funded by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the Arizona Department of Health Services. Preparation of the manuscript was supported by NIMH training grant T32MH018387. We are grateful for the input and assistance from members of the Alliance for Innovations in Health Care, and to Dr. Craig Enders for his assistance with the analyses for this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript have no potential conflicts of interests, including financial interests or gains.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenna L. Gress-Smith
    • 1
  • Linda J. Luecken
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant
    • 1
  • Rose Howe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Maricopa County Department of Public HealthPhoenixUSA

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