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Stress and Emotional Problems During Pregnancy and Excessive Infant Crying

van der Wal, Marcel F. PhD*; van Eijsden, Manon MSc*†; Bonsel, Gouke J. MD, PhD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: December 2007 - Volume 28 - Issue 6 - p 431-437
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31811ff8f4
Original Article

Objective: There is evidence that stress and emotional problems during pregnancy are related to adverse health outcomes of the child at birth and in later life. The aim of this study was to determine the association between stress and emotional problems during pregnancy and excessive infant crying.

Methods: From an initial sample of 8266 pregnant women, a follow-up sample of 4976 women and their 3- to 6-month-old babies was examined. Depressive symptoms, pregnancy related anxiety, parenting stress, and job strain during pregnancy were all univariately and multivariately associated with excessive infant crying (adjusted odds ratios between 1.69 and 2.23).

Results: Women with three or four of these antenatal risks were more likely to have an infant who cries excessively than women with no antenatal risks (adjusted odds ratio of 4.89).

Conclusion: In conclusion, stress and emotional problems during pregnancy increase the chances of having an excessively crying baby. Women with multiple antenatal risk factors are at particular risk.

From the *Municipal Health Service, Department of Epidemiology Documentation and Health Promotion, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; the †Academic Medical Centre/University of Amsterdam, Department of Social Medicine, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received January 2007; accepted May 2007.

Address for reprints: M.F. van der Wal, Municipal Health Service, Department of Epidemiology, Documentation and Health Promotion, PO Box 2200, 1000 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands; e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.