Negative impact of maternal antenatal depressive symptoms on neonate’s behavioral characteristics

  • Florence GressierEmail author
  • Aurélie Letranchant
  • Elisabeth Glatigny-Dallay
  • Bruno Falissard
  • Anne-Laure Sutter-Dallay
Original Contribution


Prenatal maternal depression is associated with developmental disorders in offspring. However, the specific effects of the intensity of prenatal depressive symptoms on infant behavior remain poorly explored. The aim of this work is to explore the links between early neonatal behavior and maternal prenatal depressive symptoms, independently from maternal pre- and postnatal anxiety and early postnatal maternal depressive symptoms. Five hundred and ninety-eight women and their newborns from the MATQUID cohort were prospectively evaluated during the 8th month of pregnancy (T1) and at day 3 postpartum (T2). We analyzed the independent associations between neonates’ behavior (Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale—NBAS) at T2 and the intensity of maternal prenatal depressive symptoms (CES-D), taking into account confounding factors including depressive symptoms at T2 and anxiety (T1 and T2). The presence of a major depressive episode (MDE) based on MINI at T1 was also studied, independently. Our results show a significant negative correlation between prenatal CES-D scores and NBAS scores on “habituation” (p = 0.0001), “orientation” (p = 0.015), “motor system” (p < 0.0001), “autonomic stability” (p < 0.0001) dimensions, independently of other variables, including pre/postnatal anxiety and postnatal depressive symptoms. A prenatal MDE was independently associated with lower scores on the “orientation” dimension (p = 0.005). This study reports a specific effect of prenatal depressive symptoms on newborn’s behavior. These results highlight the crucial necessity for antenatal screening and adjusted treatments of maternal depressive symptoms and not only of MDE. Particular attention must be paid to infants of mothers presenting prenatal depressive symptoms to provide them with early developmental care when necessary.


Anxiety Depression Pregnancy Maternal depressive symptoms Neonatal behavioral characteristics 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Regarding potential conflicts of interest, all of them were indirect: F. Gressier has given talks for Eisai, Lundbeck and Servier and received a Grant from Servier for a postdoctoral degree (2011–2012). B. Falissard has been a consultant, expert or has given talks for E. Lilly, BMS, Servier, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, HRA, Roche, Boeringer Ingelheim, Bayer, Almirall, Allergan, Stallergene, Genzyme, Pierre Fabre, Astra Zeneca, Novartis, Janssen, Astellas, Biotronik, Daiichi-Sankyo, Gilead, MSD, and Lundbeck. A. Letranchant, E. Glatigny-Dallay and A. L. Sutter-Dallay report no financial relationships with commercial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryBicêtre University Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris SudLe Kremlin BicêtreFrance
  2. 2.Université Paris-Saclay, Univ. Paris-Sud, UVSQ, CESP, Inserm UMR1178, Univ Paris-Sud, Faculté de Médecine Paris-SudLe Kremlin BicêtreFrance
  3. 3.University Department of Adult PsychiatryCharles-Perrens HospitalBordeauxFrance
  4. 4.Department of BiostatisticsMaison de Solenn, Université Paris-Saclay, Univ. Paris-Sud, UVSQ, CESP, Inserm UMR1178Paris Cedex 14France
  5. 5.Bordeaux Population Health Research Center Inserm 1219Bordeaux UniversityBordeauxFrance

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