Effects of PPMD on children
Several studies suggest that babies of mothers with untreated postpartum depression are more likely to be slow to develop motor skills. (Those are activities such as lifting the head, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking.) These children also tend to show delayed development in cognitive skills—the mental skills that guide how knowledge is obtained.
When mom has postpartum depression, the infant may withdraw. The baby may be more irritable and difficult to soothe. Studies show that by age 4 or 5, some of these children show impaired cognitive and intellectual performance. By age 11, children of mothers who had untreated postpartum depression had lower IQ scores than the youngsters of mothers without postpartum depression. The children also had greater problems with attention and had a tougher time with mathematical reasoning.
Over time, children of postpartum parents show signs of:
- Low birth weight
- Reduced duration of gestation, and preterm birth
- Insecure attachment
- Poor performance on development tests
- Conduct disorders (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and aggressive behaviors such as conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder)
- Increased likelihood of having a mood disorder
- Increased physical aggression towards others
- Poor social and academic performance
- Excessive crying, difficult to soothe