The effect of maternal common mental disorders on infant undernutrition in Butajira, Ethiopia: the P-MaMiE study

BMC Psychiatry. 2010 Apr 30:10:32. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-10-32.


Background: Although maternal common mental disorder (CMD) appears to be a risk factor for infant undernutrition in South Asian countries, the position in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is unclear

Methods: A population-based cohort of 1065 women, in the third trimester of pregnancy, was identified from the demographic surveillance site (DSS) in Butajira, to investigate the effect of maternal CMD on infant undernutrition in a predominantly rural Ethiopian population. Participants were interviewed at recruitment and at two months post-partum. Maternal CMD was measured using the locally validated Self-Reported Questionnaire (score of > or = six indicating high levels of CMD). Infant anthropometry was recorded at six and twelve months of age.

Result: The prevalence of CMD was 12% during pregnancy and 5% at the two month postnatal time-point. In bivariate analysis antenatal CMD which had resolved after delivery predicted underweight at twelve months (OR = 1.71; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.50). There were no other statistically significant differences in the prevalence of underweight or stunted infants in mothers with high levels of CMD compared to those with low levels. The associations between CMD and infant nutritional status were not significant after adjusting for pre-specified potential confounders.

Conclusion: Our negative finding adds to the inconsistent picture emerging from SSA. The association between CMD and infant undernutrition might be modified by study methodology as well as degree of shared parenting among family members, making it difficult to extrapolate across low- and middle-income countries.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Aged
  • Black People / psychology
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developing Countries
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Parenting / ethnology
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors