Impact of postpartum depressive and anxiety symptoms on mothers' emotional tie to their infants 2-3 months postpartum: a population-based study from rural Bangladesh

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2011 Aug;14(4):307-16. doi: 10.1007/s00737-011-0221-7. Epub 2011 May 28.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of depressive and anxiety symptoms on maternal bonding to the infant 2-3 months postpartum and the influence of the mother's bonding to the infant during pregnancy and to her own caregiver during her childhood on maternal bonding 2-3 months postpartum. This study originated from a community-based cohort study carried out in rural Bangladesh. Trained staff collected data and administrated the questionnaires during the third trimester of pregnancy, at childbirth and 2-3 months postpartum. Maternal depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the State Anxiety Inventory and the mother's emotional bonding to the infant with the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire. The results showed that 11% of the women reported depressive symptoms, 35% anxiety symptoms, 3.4% both depressive and anxiety symptoms and 51% neither depressive nor anxiety symptoms. Mothers with depressive symptoms were older, were poorer, fewer were literate, reported more intimate partner violence and showed lower emotional bonding to their infants 2-3 months postpartum compared to mentally well and anxious mothers. Approximately 11% of the mothers reported mild bonding disturbances and nearly one third of them showed depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms and giving birth to a girl were negatively associated to a mother's emotional bonding to her infant, while maternal anxiety symptoms and high bonding to the foetus during pregnancy were positively associated to the mother's emotional bonding to the infant 2-3 months postpartum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data
  • Object Attachment*
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult