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

Review highlights risk factors associated with violence in schizophrenia

Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry have found that people with schizophrenia and related disorders are at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating violence, but that the overall risk remains low (less than 1 in 20 in women, and less than 1 in 4 for men over a 35-year period for violent arrests and crimes).

An estimated 1.2 million people died in 2019 from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections

First comprehensive analysis of global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) estimates resistance itself caused 1.27 million deaths in 2019 - more deaths than HIV/AIDS or malaria - and that antimicrobial-resistant infections played a role in 4.95 million deaths.

Attention and memory deficits persist for months after recovery from mild Covid

Researchers from Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology and Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences have shown that people who have had Covid but don’t complain of long Covid symptoms in daily life nevertheless can show degraded attention and memory for up to 6-9 months.

Plaster cast or metal pins to treat a broken wrist? The results are in.

An Oxford study published in The BMJ has found the use of metal K-wires (commonly known as ‘pins’) to hold broken wrist bones in place while they heal are no better than a traditional moulded plaster cast.

New book expands the horizons of brain research

A pioneering book from Professor Zoltán Molnár and Yale Professors Tamas Horvath and Joy Hirsch to be released on 1 February 2022 addresses the fundamental relationship between the body, brain and behaviour.

New research sheds light on how ultrasound could be used to treat psychiatric disorders

A new study in macaque monkeys has shed light on which parts of the brain support credit assignment processes (how the brain links outcomes with its decisions) and, for the first time, how low-intensity transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS) can modulate both brain activity and behaviours related to these decision-making and learning processes.