[Children Murdered by Their Mothers in the Postpartum Period]

Nervenarzt. 2007 Nov;78(11):1290-5. doi: 10.1007/s00115-007-2355-4.
[Article in German]


The parental killing of children constitutes a complex phenomenon which has been reported across numerous cultures and throughout history. Children in the 1st year of life are at the highest risk of filicide. Types of filicide in the postpartum period include altruistic filicide, extended suicide, fatal child maltreatment, and neonaticide. Babies are murdered more frequently by mothers who are psychiatrically disturbed. With high frequency, depressive and psychotic symptoms are related to the newborn or to the maternity itself. The knowledge about maternal factors associated with filicide is not homogeneous. Sociodemographic characteristics are presented in relation to the different types of filicide. Risk constellations that may lead to a child's murder are described.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infanticide / psychology*
  • Infanticide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment