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Leah Rocketto

Could Postpartum Depression Harm Your Child’s Growth?

PUBLISHED ON 09/10/2012

This is some sad, and possibly true, news. New research suggests that moms who deal with depression could affect their children's height.

The study, conducted by Professor Pamela J. Surkan of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, surveyed more than 6,000 mothers who suffered from moderate to severe depression after giving birth. Researchers tracked the growth of their children until the age of five. They found that those with moms who’d suffered symptoms of postpartum depression were almost 50 percent more likely than their peers to be in the shortest 10 percent of kids their age.

But why would a mom's mood affect her child's height? Surkan believes that, "mothers who are depressed or blue might have a hard time following through with caregiving tasks."

While this study does not delve further into the correlation between depression and growth, it does bring to light a serious issue.

"It raises a red flag for us," Dr. Andrew Leuchter, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, said. "It’s more evidence that depression in the mom can have negative health effects on the kids. So it really underlines the urgency of treating depression in these mothers so the kids don’t suffer."

Have you suffered from postpartum depression? How did you cope?

PHOTO: Thinkstock
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