STUDY: Postpartum depression may affect kids' growth

(WXYZ) - A new study finds a mother's postpartum depression may affect her child's growth later in life.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics , looked at children's height when they were four and five years old and compared the numbers based on whether their mothers suffered from postpartum depression. The depression lasted at least nine months after the child's birth.

Researchers found children whose mothers suffered from postpartum depression were shorter than those whose mothers did not suffer from postpartum depression.

Children whose mothers were depressed after their birth were 48 percent more likely to fall below the tenth percentile in height at ages four and five, which can be a difference of up to five inches in some case.

Researchers say maternal depression can impact the length of time a mother breastfeeds. It can also stress out the baby and disrupt growth hormones, researchers said.

"Spouses, significant others, family members need to help mothers identify this because sometimes when people are in the height of depression and they are new mothers they're overwhelmed by both," said Dr. Amy Sullivan, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.

Experts say depressed moms shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

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