Essay on Postpartum Depression and the Effects of a Child’s Development

Published: 2021/12/28
Number of words: 1147


Postpartum depression(PPD) is a common mental health condition experienced by pregnant women7.1% of; mothers have reported having experienced severe PPD across different cultures, with the numbers further increasing up to 19.2% when considering minor PPD cases. These cases are said to be quite rampant in Eastern Europe. The PPD conditions remain underdiagnosed and misinterpreted while many victims shy from discussing the same. This situation leaves many infants at the risk of suffering consequences related to Postpartum depression of their mothers. A Significant amount of study has been carried out by numerous researchers from all over the world regarding the same and how postpartum depression in mothers can have a consequential impact on their kids.

Main Body

Smith-Nielsen et al. (2016) study evaluated the long-lived impacts of maternal postpartum depression on the aspects of mobility, cognitive, and speech on their newborns. The study was conducted in Copenhagen, Denmark. Bell et al. (2019) study were conducted to evaluate distress connected to postpartum, such as depression and altered psychological well-being of children. Abdollahi& Zarghami (2017) also conducted another study to examine the correlation existing amongst women with postpartum depression and the impact such may have on the infants’ development, a study based in Iran. Unlike the studies mentioned earlier, Slomian et al. (2019) carried out a fourth study based on why PPD predominantly negatively affects infants. These scholars’ research and findings lead to a dilemma on various aspects of children’s development concerning PPD.

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Abdollahi et al. (2017) study consisted of a longitudinal study that targeted four-year-old children’s developmental progression from mothers who were postpartum depression victims and their counterparts. Smith-Nielsen et al., (2016) research were based on a diagnostic interview of 83 mothers whereby 28 had postpartum mental disorder while the control group involved 55 mentally stable mothers. A third edition Bailey scale of toddler development was used to evaluate the children’s cognitive, language, and motor as they were between four to thirteen months. Similarly, Bell et, al (2019) study involved cognitive and behavioral progress of children up to the age of seven and whose parents had gone through postpartum depression, kids whose mothers were diagnosed with postpartum depression and not treated as well as those children whose mothers had shown no signs of postpartum depression, while acknowledging other factors that may intensify postpartum depression such as level of education, economic status, ethnicity, paternal presence and number of siblings. On the other hand, unlike the rest Slomian (2019) research was carried out using a cross-sectional, qualitative study based on mothers and their newborn newborns of up to three years of age.

The researchers categorized their participants into three categories: one, the impact of PPD on the mothers in the aspects of physical health, mental health, relationships with other people as well as risky behaviors. The second category involved the impact of PPD on the infant, such as sleep, depression, physical health, motor, cognitive, language, among others. The last category involved bonding, breastfeeding, and maternal care.

Smith-Nielsen (2016) study established that there was quite a significant difference in the four-year-olds, but only on the aspect of cognitive aspect on the Bailey-III scale amongst the children of clinical mothers as compared to the non-clinical mothers, there wasn’t a significant difference in the aspects of speech and motor for the infants. Similarly, on using the Edinburg Post-partum scale, Bell et al. (2019) established a significant correlation in terms of cognitive aspects between children whose mothers underwent PPD. However, the results from the two researchers may have been subjected to some differences, such as the fact that Parents of which Smith-Nielsen et al. (2016) used as participants in the research may have faced minimal subjection to other risk factors such as economic condition level of education and absence of a father-figure as a big majority of them had father figures and came from well-off backgrounds with a good education unlike it was the case with Bell et al. (2019) research.

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There was a significant similarity in the findings of Abdollahi et al. (2016) and Slomian et al. (2019) established that children whose parents experienced PPD were relatively below par compared to their counterparts. These were in terms of physical growth, development, and motor. Moreover, similarly, both sets of children had minor medical concerns attributed to their frequency in visiting emergency rooms. Another similarity was that the effects on both pieces of research faced long-lived consequences. Similarly, in explaining their findings, both researchers attributed the results to both mothers’ lack of self-esteem and mental stability, which affects their ability to take care of their newborns. However, Slomian et al. (2019) associate the findings with other factors such as the lack of a father figure during pregnancy and delivery, educational background, among many other underlying conditions besides the PPD.

For all the researches above, a significant limitation is the number of participants in each research, the researches only covered a small scope of individuals which may lead to findings that are not quite substantial.

Discussion and conclusion

Postpartum depression is a common condition among child-bearing mothers, which has not been properly addressed and diagnosed over the years. As the researchers mentioned above, this condition can cause mild to dire implications on a child’s well-being, which may either be short-lived or long-term. Moreover, the impact PPD may have on the children may also depend on other underlying factors such as the financial and educational backgrounds of the mothers, the presence of father figures, and many others. Health practitioners need to diagnose these conditions from the early stages and develop procedures to combat such cases in good time. Psychological assistance should be offered to mothers facing such disorders to bond well and nurture their newborns appropriately to curb any adverse effects on children. The researches as mentioned previously are key important source of information in regards to PPD and the impact on the children. However, Further researcher should come up with a study comprising of a larger number of participants across different regions and backgrounds so as to derive more substantial findings


Abdollahi, F., Rezai Abhari, F., & Zarghami, M. (2017). Post-Partum Depression Effect on Child Health and Development. Acta Medica Iranica, 55(2), 109–114.

Bell, K., Bloor, K., & Hewitt, C. (2019). How do undiagnosed symptoms of maternal psychological distress during the postnatal period affect child development outcomes? Maternal and Child Health Journal, 23, 1187-1195.

Slomian, J., Honvo, G., Emonts, P., Reginster, J.-Y., & Bruyère, O. (2019). Consequences of maternal postpartum depression: A systematic review of maternal and infant outcomes. Women’s Health, 15, 174550651984404.

Smith-Nielsen J., Tharner A, Krogh M. T. & Vever M. S. (2016). Effects of maternal postpartum depression in a well-resourced sample: Early concurrent and long-term effects on infant cognitive, language, and motor development. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57. Pp. 571-583.

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