Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Postnatal depression which persists beyond six months after birth and is severe, increases the risk of children exhibiting behavioural problems, achieving lower GCSE mathematics grades at 16 years and having depression at 18 years of age.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Postnatal depression which is persistent (whether moderate or severe) increases mothers’ risk of continuing to experience depressive symptoms beyond the postnatal year, with high levels found up until 11 years after childbirth.

Available research suggests that postnatal depression is associated with increased risks to children’s development affecting a range of domains. The effects are variable with some evidence suggesting that brief episodes, while distressing to the mother, may not impact negatively on children’s development. However, episodes of depression which persist for six months or more in duration may increase the risk for children. Identifying women at most risk is important both for women’s mental health and children’s development. The authors investigated whether depression has a similar impact when it is, or is not, persistent at either moderate or severe levels. Researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Bristol, Reading and UCLA in a new paper in JAMA Psychiatry tracked changes in mothers’ depressive symptoms following the postnatal year and differences in children’s development when postnatal depression was, or was not, persistent.

Find out more (University of Oxford website)

Similar stories

New study finds that politicians typically enjoy longer lives than general populations

New data show politicians have a considerable survival advantage over general populations, based on information from 11 countries and over 57,500 politicians. In some countries this survival advantage is at the highest level for 150 years, and life expectancy at age 45 was found to be around seven years higher for politicians compared to general populations in certain countries.

Five ways the pandemic has affected routine medical care

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID has infected at least a third of the UK population and is estimated to have factored in the deaths of almost 200,000 people in the UK. But critically, COVID has also had a devastating impact on our healthcare systems. While this was expected, new evidence is beginning to reveal the scope of the issue – in particular the effects for people living with long-term health conditions.

Clinical trials for a malaria vaccine start in Mali and Indonesia

Sanaria Inc. announced that two new Phase 2 trials of its pioneering malaria vaccines have started. The first is in 6- to 10-year-old children living in Bancoumana, Mali, a malarious region of West Africa. The second is in Indonesian soldiers based in Sumatra, Indonesia. The soldiers will be deploying for six to nine months this coming August to an intensely malarious district in eastern Indonesia.

Researchers discover novel form of adaptation in the auditory system

Researchers in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) have found that the auditory system adapts to the changing acoustics of reverberant environments by temporally shifting the inhibitory tuning of cortical neurons to remove reverberation.

20 minutes of daily exercise can keep teens' doctors away

Teenagers should exercise vigorously for at least 20 minutes per day to reap increased cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), according to a cross-sectional study from the UK led by University of Oxford researchers.

Mechanism of expanding bacteria revealed

A new study published in Nature has identified a potential Achilles heel in the protective layers surrounding Gram-negative bacteria that could aid in the development of next-generation antibiotics.