Women's health after pregnancy and child outcomes at age 3 years: a prospective cohort study

Am J Public Health. 2002 Aug;92(8):1312-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.8.1312.


Objectives: This study examined the persistence and comorbidity of women's physical and mental health conditions after pregnancy and the association of these conditions with child outcomes.

Methods: A national cohort of women who recently gave birth were surveyed in 1988 and again in 1991. We examined longitudinal data on maternal poor physical health, depressive symptoms, and smoking, and maternal report of child outcomes (at age approximately 3 years).

Results: Women's poor physical health and smoking had strong, graded associations with children's physical health and behavior problems, whereas women's depressive symptoms were associated with children's delayed language and behavior problems.

Conclusions: Substantial persistence and comorbidity of women's health conditions exist after pregnancy with adverse effects on early child outcomes. Child health professionals should support services and policies that promote women's health outside the context of pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health*