Pre- and Post-Natal Maternal Depressive Symptoms in Relation with Infant Frontal Function, Connectivity, and Behaviors

PLoS One. 2016 Apr 13;11(4):e0152991. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152991. eCollection 2016.

Abstract

This study investigated the relationships between pre- and early post-natal maternal depression and their changes with frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) activity and functional connectivity in 6- and 18-month olds, as well as externalizing and internalizing behaviors in 24-month olds (n = 258). Neither prenatal nor postnatal maternal depressive symptoms independently predicted neither the frontal EEG activity nor functional connectivity in 6- and 18-month infants. However, increasing maternal depressive symptoms from the prenatal to postnatal period predicted greater right frontal activity and relative right frontal asymmetry amongst 6-month infants but these finding were not observed amongst 18-month infants after adjusted for post-conceptual age on the EEG visit day. Subsequently increasing maternal depressive symptoms from the prenatal to postnatal period predicted lower right frontal connectivity within 18-month infants but not among 6-month infants after controlling for post-conceptual age on the EEG visit day. These findings were observed in the full sample and the female sample but not in the male sample. Moreover, both prenatal and early postnatal maternal depressive symptoms independently predicted children's externalizing and internalizing behaviors at 24 months of age. This suggests that the altered frontal functional connectivity in infants born to mothers whose depressive symptomatology increases in the early postnatal period compared to that during pregnancy may reflect a neural basis for the familial transmission of phenotypes associated with mood disorders, particularly in girls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology*

Grant support

This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Flagship Programme and administered by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC), Singapore- NMRC/TCR/004-NUS/2008; NMRC/TCR/012-NUHS/2014. Additional funding is provided by NMRC (NMRC/CBRG/0039/2013), and Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 2 (MOE2012-T2-2-130). All the funding received during this specific study was external to the authors' organization. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.