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Maternal psychological morbidity and low birth weight in India

  • Vikram Patel (a1) and Martin Prince (a2)

Summary

Depression following childbirth is associated with poor child growth in developing countries. We describe the association between psychological morbidity during pregnancy and low birth weight (<2.5 kg). A cohort of 270 mothers was recruited from a district hospital in Goa, India; all mothers were interviewed with a screening questionnaire for psychological morbidity. Babies of 250 mothers were reviewed at birth to measure their weight. Excluding 5 premature babies, we found that maternal psychological morbidity was independently associated with low birth weight (odds ratio 1.44, 95% CI 1.00–2.07). We conclude that maternal psychological morbidity has an adverse impact on foetal growth.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Vikram Patel, NPHIRU, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E7HT, UK. Fax: +44 (0) 207 958 8111; e-mail: Vikram.patel@lshtm.ac.uk

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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

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References

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Andersson, L., Sundstrom-Poromaa, I., Wulff, M., et al (2004) Neonatal outcome following maternal antenatal depression and anxiety: a population-based study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 159, 872881.
Nordentoft, M., Lou, H. C., Hansen, D., et al (1996) Intrauterine growth retardation and premature delivery: the influence of maternal smoking and psychosocial factors. American Journal of Public Health, 86, 347354.
Orr, S. T., James, S. A. & Blackmore Prince, C. (2002) Maternal prenatal depressive symptoms and spontaneous preterm births among African-American women in Baltimore, Maryland. American Journal of Epidemiology, 156, 797802.
Patel, V., Pereira, J. & Mann, A. (1998) Somatic and psychological models of common mental disorders in India. Psychological Medicine, 28, 135143.
Patel, V., Rodrigues, M. & De Souza, N. (2002) Gender, poverty and post-natal depression: a cohort study from Goa, India. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159, 4347.
Patel, V., Rahman, A., Jacob, K. S., et al (2004a) Effect of maternal mental health on infant growth in low income countries: new evidence from South Asia. BMJ, 328, 820823.
Patel, V., Araya, R. & Bolton, P. (2004b) Treating depression in developing countries. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 9, 13.
Rahman, A., Iqbal, Z., Bunn, J., et al (2004) Impact of maternal depression on infant nutritional status and illness: a cohort study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61, 946952.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Maternal psychological morbidity and low birth weight in India

  • Vikram Patel (a1) and Martin Prince (a2)
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