Approximately 14 percent of mothers and 10 percent of fathers suffer from moderate or severe postpartum depression resulting in undesirable parenting practices and limited parent-infant interaction. August 2006 - In the study, "Individual and Combined Effects of Postpartum Depression in Mothers and Fathers on Parenting Behavior," researchers reviewed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study on more than 5,000 two-parent families with children age 9 months.
The study found that depressed mothers were less likely to engage in preventive health behaviors, such as breastfeeding and placing a child on his or her back to sleep, and/or play or interact with their child. Depressed fathers also engaged in less positive interactions with their infant.
The study recommended that pediatricians make a greater effort to screen both parents for postpartum depression to help ensure successful adherence to parenting and child preventative health guidelines.