Mothers who develop postpartum depression may have an increased risk of having an infant with colic and of not forming a strong bond or, attachment, with their infants, according to the results of a study by researchers in Turkey.
Colic is a common problem that develops during early infancy, lead author Dr. I. Akman and colleagues from Marmara University Medical School, Istanbul, point out. However, there is little information on the relationship between postpartum psychological problems and colic.
The researchers evaluated 78 mothers who completed standard tests to detect postpartum depression, anxiety and attachment disorder in the first postpartum month. At the same time, their infants were evaluated for colic.
Seventeen infants were diagnosed with colic and 10 women had a high risk of postpartum depression. The researchers found that the mothers with infants with colic were significantly more likely to be in the high-risk group compared with the mothers of infants without colic.
Twenty-nine of the 67 mothers evaluated for attachment disorder exhibited insecure an attachment style. An insecure attachment style was significantly more common among women with infants with colic compared with those with infants without colic, according to the study results, published in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood.
The authors note that screening, early diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression may improve both the mother’s and the infant’s health. They call for further studies to determine the effect of treatment of maternal depression on the occurrence of infant colic.
SOURCE: Archives of Diseases in Childhood, May 2006.
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD