Postpartum depression can have a number of profound effects not only on the mother, but for children as well. A new study published in Dermatitis indicates that children with mothers who had postpartum depression may have an increased risk of developing atopic dermatitis (AD).1
The investigators used the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), which is a prospective cohort study of 4898 children who were born in 20 metropolitan cities in the United States. They found that a history of postpartum depression was linked with childhood AD (multivariable logistic regression; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.64). The association was particularly pronounced in children aged 5 years (aOR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.04-1.73) and 9 years (aOR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.10-1.70).
A history of maternal depression increases AD risk
Additionally, postpartum depression was linked to more persistent AD (present at age 2 years: aOR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.12-2.22; at 3 years: aOR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.15-2.60). A history of maternal depression in the past year was linked to significantly higher odds of AD in children aged 5 years (aOR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.20-1.99); 9 years (aOR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.10-1.71); and 15 years (aOR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.13-1.80).
Furthermore, mother’s depression was associated with higher odds of AD in offspring during 1 year (aOR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.16-1.94), 2 years (aOR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.16-2.19), or all 3 years of interviews (aOR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.06-2.45).
The researchers concluded that depression in the postpartum period and beyond appears to be linked with AD in both childhood and adolescence.
1. McKenzie C, Silverberg J. Maternal depression and atopic dermatitis in American children and adolescents. Dermatitis. 2020;31(1):75-80.