Researchers who followed more than 6,000 mothers and babies found that when moms reported moderate to severe symptoms of depression in the nine months following delivery, their children were more likely to be shorter than others as kindergarteners, according to the report published in the journal Pediatrics.
In fact, 5-year-olds with moms who'd suffered symptoms of postpartum depression were almost 50 percent more likely than their peers to be in the shortest 10 percent of kids that age.
The new research doesn't explain how kids with depressed moms end up shorter. That's something the researchers are looking into right now, said the study's lead author Pamela J. Surkan, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Surkan suspects, however, that depression might get in the way of nurturing.
"We think that mothers who are depressed or blue might have a hard time following through with caregiving tasks," Surkan said.
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