Stress and emotional problems during pregnancy and excessive infant crying

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2007 Dec;28(6):431-7. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31811ff8f4.


Objective: There is evidence that stress and emotional problems during pregnancy are related to adverse health outcomes of the child at birth and in later life. The aim of this study was to determine the association between stress and emotional problems during pregnancy and excessive infant crying.

Methods: From an initial sample of 8266 pregnant women, a follow-up sample of 4976 women and their 3- to 6-month-old babies was examined. Depressive symptoms, pregnancy related anxiety, parenting stress, and job strain during pregnancy were all univariately and multivariately associated with excessive infant crying (adjusted odds ratios between 1.69 and 2.23).

Results: Women with three or four of these antenatal risks were more likely to have an infant who cries excessively than women with no antenatal risks (adjusted odds ratio of 4.89).

Conclusion: In conclusion, stress and emotional problems during pregnancy increase the chances of having an excessively crying baby. Women with multiple antenatal risk factors are at particular risk.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / complications*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Crying / psychology*
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Inventory
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology