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Postpartum Depression and Sleep: Newborn Period

Friday, October 19, 2012
Room R02-R05 (Morial Convention Center)
Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, Psychology, Saint Joseph's University/Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, Courtney Du Mond, PhD, Golisano Children's Hospital, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY and Euen Gunn, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., Skillman, NJ

Purpose:   The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between maternal depression and sleep (infant and mother) during the newborn period.

Methods: Mothers of 30 3-month-olds completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BISQ), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).

Results:   Significant correlations were found between EPDS scores and measures of maternal/infant sleep.


Maternal sleep quality

.49 **

Maternal number of night waking

.47 **

Maternal sleepiness

.34 t

Maternal fatigue

.52 **

Infant nighttime sleep

-.43 *

Infant longest stretch

-.41 *

t p<.10, * p<.05, ** p<.01

Infant and maternal sleep significantly predicted EPDS scores, accounting for 37% of the variance.  Overall, maternal sleep quality (PSQI; b = .31), less total nighttime sleep in the infant (b = -.26), and less infant consolidated sleep (b = -.25) significantly predicted maternal depression, p < .01. 

Furthermore, the relationship between maternal depression and maternal/infant sleep at 3-months is clearly bidirectional, as maternal depression and infant sleep significantly predicted overall maternal sleep quality (44% variance), p < .01, with EPDS (b = .50), earlier infant waketime (b = -.42), and less total sleep at night by the infant (b = .07) all individually predicted depression symptomatology.

Conclusions:  Overall, there is a significant relationship between symptoms of maternal depression and infant/maternal sleep at 3-months of age, with a strong bidirectional relationship between maternal sleep and maternal depression.  Although maternal sleep was most predictive of maternal depression, sleep consolidation and total nighttime sleep in infants was also predictive. These results indicate that interventions to improve sleep in both infants and mothers may result in decreased symptoms of depression.