Predictors of crying problems in the early postpartum period

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2010 May-Jun;39(3):250-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2010.01141.x.


Objective: To investigate maternal and infant factors associated with midwife-reported crying problems in the early postpartum period.

Design: Case control study.

Setting: Postnatal home care in Switzerland.

Participants: Seven thousand seven hundred and sixty-five mother/child dyads who received postnatal homecare by midwives (n=1,636 cases of midwife-reported crying problems, n=6,129 controls).

Methods: We investigated factors associated with infant crying problems during the postpartum period as documented in the Statistical Database of Independent Midwives' Services in Switzerland (2007). Using case control methodology, we matched all identified cases of crying problems with controls who had been cared for by the same midwife. A conditional logistic regression model was used to analyze the associations of reported crying problems with maternal and infant factors.

Results: Maternal health and mood problems in the immediate postpartum period were significantly associated with reported crying problems. Maternal health and mood problems included physical complications after birth, psychological decompensation, and depression. Further risk factors for infant crying problems were planned resumption of paid work directly after paid maternity leave (at 15-16 weeks postpartum) and immigrant status. A protective effect was observed for higher parity.

Conclusions: Crying problems in the early postpartum period are associated with mothers' physical, psychological, and social conditions. Care practices that promote new mothers' physical and psychological recovery after birth could be a promising strategy to prevent early crying problems. Specific support is important for mothers with early signs of depression or decompensation, intention to return early to paid work, immigrant background, and for first-time mothers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Crying* / physiology
  • Crying* / psychology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mothers* / education
  • Mothers* / psychology
  • Mothers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nurse Midwives / organization & administration
  • Nurse Midwives / psychology
  • Parental Leave
  • Parity
  • Postnatal Care / organization & administration
  • Postnatal Care / psychology
  • Postpartum Period* / physiology
  • Postpartum Period* / psychology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Switzerland
  • Women, Working / psychology