Postpartum depression effects on early interactions, parenting, and safety practices: a review

Infant Behav Dev. 2010 Feb;33(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Dec 3.


In this paper studies are reviewed from the last decade on postpartum depression effects on early interactions, parenting, safety practices and on early interventions. The interaction disturbances of depressed mothers and their infants appear to be universal, across different cultures and socioeconomic status groups and, include less sensitivity of the mothers and responsivity of the infants. Several caregiving activities also appear to be compromised by postpartum depression including feeding practices, most especially breastfeeding, sleep routines and well-child visits, vaccinations and safety practices. These data highlight the need for universal screening of maternal and paternal depression during the postpartum period. Early interventions reviewed here include psychotherapy and interaction coaching for the mothers, and infant massage for their infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Rearing / psychology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*