Depressed Moms Less Likely to Engage Their Child in Developmental Behaviors

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<p>When new mothers experience depression--a common reaction to postpartum symptoms and the demands of parenting an infant--their ability to safely and effectively care for their children may be impaired. According to a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=22205&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D373237%26%23doc373237">Commonwealth Fund-supported study</a> in the <em>Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,</em> mothers with depressive symptoms are less likely to engage in important developmental behaviors with their infant, such as playing, talking, and following daily routines.<br><br>For the study, a research team led by Kathryn Taaffe McLearn, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recruited families from 15 sites across the U.S. that participated in the National Evaluation of Healthy Steps for Young Children, a model of pediatric care that incorporates enhanced developmental services for infants and toddlers. A total of 4,874 mothers participated.<br><br>The authors say that all mothers should be screened for depression in the period after childbirth, when parenting practices are established and providers have frequent contact with families.</p>