The first three years: The association of early postpartum depressive symptoms with infant and toddler development

Saralee Glasser*, Moshe Uziel, Shir Wagman, Hani Zaworbach, Yona Ferber, Daphna Levinson, Liat Lerner-Geva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The influence of postpartum depression (PPD) on child development has been a source of professional interest and practical relevance. Objective: This study investigated the association of early PPD symptoms with developmental domains. Design and method: This historical cohort study included 574,282 children attending Mother Child Healthcare Centers in Israel from January 1, 2014 to July 31, 2020, who underwent at least one developmental screening examination by public health nurses up to age 36 months, and whose mothers completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) postnatally. Developmental milestone tasks included four domains: fine and gross motor, language/communication, and social/behavioral. Results: The rate of failure to complete age-appropriate tasks was higher among children whose mothers had scored ≥ 10 on the EPDS on the majority of tasks in every domain. Discussion: This large population-based study has demonstrated the association between early maternal postnatal depressive symptoms and failure to meet developmental milestones across domains, until three years. Recommendations for practice focus on the mother, the child, and health policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-286
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024


FundersFunder number
Dror Ben Moshe
Reichman University
Ziama Arkin Infancy Institute
Ministry of Health, State of Israel


    • Postpartum depression
    • fine motor development
    • gross motor development
    • language/communication development
    • social/behavioral development


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