Association between antenatal depression and low birthweight in a developing country

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2007 Jun;115(6):481-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2006.00950.x.


Objective: There is a high prevalence of depression in south Asian women. We aimed to examine the association between antenatal depression and low birthweight (LBW) in infants in a rural community in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Method: A total of 143 physically healthy mothers with ICD-10 depression in the third trimester of pregnancy and 147 non-depressed mothers of similar gestation were followed from birth. Infant weight was measured and information collected on socioeconomic status, maternal body-mass index and sociodemographic factors.

Results: Infants of depressed mothers had lower birthweight (mean 2910 g) than infants of non-depressed mothers (mean 3022 g). The relative risk for LBW (< or =2500 g) in infants of depressed mothers was 1.9 (95% CI 1.3-2.9). The association remained significant after adjustment for confounders by multivariate analyses.

Conclusion: Low birthweight is a major public health problem in developing countries. Maternal depression during pregnancy predicts LBW. Interventions aimed at maternal depression may help improve infant outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Perinatology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*