Infantile colic, prolonged crying and maternal postnatal depression

Acta Paediatr. 2009 Aug;98(8):1344-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01317.x. Epub 2009 Apr 28.


Aim: To study if infant crying is associated with maternal postnatal depression.

Methods: Data from 1015 mothers and their children participating in a prospective European multicentre study were analysed. Infantile colic and prolonged crying were defined as excessive crying as reported by the mothers 2 and 6 months after delivery, and at the same time the mothers completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

Results: In cross-sectional analyses, infant crying was associated with high EPDS scores both 2 (OR: 4.4; 95% CI: 2.4-8.2) and 6 months postpartum (OR: 10.8; 95% CI: 4.3-26.9). More than one-third of the others of infants with prolonged crying had high EPDS scores 6 months postpartum. Longitudinal analyses showed that mothers of infants with colic had increased odds of having high EPDS scores 6 months after delivery even if crying had resolved (OR: 3.7; 95% CI: 1.4-10.1).

Conclusion: Both infantile colic and prolonged crying were associated with high maternal depression scores. Most noteworthy, infantile colic at 2 months of age was associated with high maternal depression scores 4 months later.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colic*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Crying* / psychology
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors