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TitleMother’s depression at childbirth does not contribute to the effects of antenatal depression on neonate’s behavioral development
Author(s)Pacheco, Alexandra P.
Figueiredo, Bárbara
Face/voice preference
Issue dateJun-2012
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Abstract(s)Background: Maternal depression is a worldwide phenomenon that has been linked to adverse developmental outcomes in neonates. Aims: To study the effect of antenatal depression (during the third trimester of pregnancy) on neonate behavior, preference, and habituation to both the mother and a stranger’s face/voice. To analyze mother’s depression at childbirth as a potential mediator or moderator of the relationship between antenatal depression and neonate behavioral development. Method: A sample of 110 pregnant women was divided in 2 groups according to their scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during pregnancy (EPDS; ≥10, depressed; <10, non-depressed). In the first 5 days after birth, neonatal performance on the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) and in the ‘Preference and habituation to the mother’s face/voice versus stranger’ paradigm was assessed; each mother filled out an EPDS. Results: Neonates of depressed pregnant women, achieved lower scores on the NBASs (regulation of state, range of state, and habituation); did not show a visual/auditory preference for the mother’s face/voice; required more trials to become habituated to the mother’s face/voice; and showed a higher visual/auditory preference for the stranger’s face/voice after habituation compared to neonates of non-depressed pregnant women. Depression at childbirth does not contribute to the effect of antenatal depression on neonatal behavioral development. Conclusion: Depression even before childbirth compromises the neonatal behavioral development. Depression is a relevant issue and should be addressed as a routine part of prenatal health care.
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CIPsi - Artigos (Papers)

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