Free
Articles  |   March 1997
Effect of maternal depression on premature infant health during initial hospitalization
Article Information
Articles   |   March 1997
Effect of maternal depression on premature infant health during initial hospitalization
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 1997, Vol. 97, 145. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1997.97.3.145
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 1997, Vol. 97, 145. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1997.97.3.145
Abstract

This study evaluates the effect of maternal depression on neonatal health status in premature infants during their initial hospitalization. Infants younger than 34 weeks' gestation born to nondrug abusing mothers were enrolled in the study. Thirty-one mother-infant pairs were identified. Maternal depression was evaluated by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D). Scores > or = 16 defined maternal depression. Initial infant physiologic health status was determined by the Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology (SNAP). In-hospital health status was assessed by the following variables: days receiving supplemental oxygen, days on mechanical ventilation (VENT), and days not on enteral feeding (NPO). Health status variables evaluated for long-term outcome included bronchopulmonary dysplasia at 28 days (BPD), BPD at 34 weeks' postmenstrual age (BPD-34), and intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). Seventeen (55%) of 31 mothers manifested depression on the CES-D. No epidemiologic differences were found between this group and the nondepressed mothers. No differences in gestation or birth weight was detected between the preterm infants of depressed versus nondepressed mothers. The CES-D scores correlated significantly with SNAP (r = .36, P < .02). Infants of depressed mothers experienced significantly worse outcomes in the occurrence of BPD (P = .015), BPD-34 (P = .049), and IVH (P = .055). This study confirms that maternal depression occurs frequently in mothers of preterm infants and adversely affects the presenting neonatal health status of their babies during the initial hospitalization. Maternal depression was related to the severity of the initial neonatal illness and was significantly related to IVH and BPD. These factors may have long-term consequences for subsequent growth, neurodevelopment, and recurrence of related health problems.