FRIDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- New moms with colicky babies are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression than other new moms, a new study shows.
Researchers from Brown Medical School and the Rhode Island Department of Health analyzed data collected from more than 2,900 new mothers.
They found that 19 percent reported moderate to severe symptoms of postpartum depression, and 8 percent reported that their babies were difficult to console. Mothers who reported postpartum depression were more than twice as likely to report difficult-to-console babies, and mothers with inconsolable babies were more than two times as likely to report depression.
"Depression and inconsolability are strong predictors of one another. One in three women with fussy infants acknowledged that they were depressed," lead researcher Dr. Pamela High, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Brown Medical School, said in a prepared statement.
She noted that it's not unusual to see new mothers "who are very tired, and sometimes very anxious and depressed. Moms are trying hard to understand their child's needs, and meet those needs. Sometimes they feel inadequate when they can't console their baby."
The study is the first to use a large sample of demographically diverse women to establish an association between postpartum depression and colicky babies. However, High noted the findings do not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between depression and a colicky babies.
"We can't say that inconsolability causes depression, or that depression causes inconsolability," she said.
The study does send a clear message to doctors, High added. If a doctor is treating a colicky baby, then it's wise to check on the mother too by asking her how she's feeling and if she has support from family and friends. When appropriate, women should be referred to a mental health expert.
The findings were presented this week at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, in San Francisco.
The American Psychiatric Association has more about postpartum depression.
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