Depressed mums have shorter kids

Depressed mums in the first year after birth can cause kids to be shorter.
Photo / Thinkstock
Depressed mums in the first year after birth can cause kids to be shorter. Photo / Thinkstock

Children with mums who suffer depression within the first year of giving birth tend to be shorter than others, a new study has found.

Researchers looked at data from more than 6500 American children. They found those who had mothers presenting moderate to severe symptoms of depression nine months after their delivery were 40 per cent more likely to have children in the bottom tenth percentile for their height. Meaning 90 per cent of other children were taller than them, according to the paper published in the journal Pediatrics.

"What we found is that mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms in the first year postpartum were more likely to have children who were shorter in preschool and kindergarten age," lead researcher Prof Pamela Surkan told HealthDay.

Researchers couldn't explain the link directly, but according to Medical Daily, experts say a symptom of depression is loss of appetite, and if a mother is depressed she may not be interested in what her baby is eating.

Depressed mothers may have insomnia which could disrupt a baby's sleep and feeding schedule. In addition, maternal depression can make babies feel stressed. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol are linked with lower levels of the growth hormone in kids.

- nzherald.co.nz

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