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Maternal depression trajectories from 3 months to 11 years postpartum and offspring body composition in early adolescence

  • Simone Farías-Antúnez (a1), Alicia Matijasevich (a2), Aluísio Jardim Dornellas de Barros (a1) and Iná da Silva dos Santos (a1)



To investigate the effect of maternal depressive symptom trajectories, from 3 months to 11 years postpartum, on the offspring’s body composition at 11 years of age.


Data from the Pelotas 2004 Birth Cohort, from the perinatal interview and from the 3-, 12-, 24- and 48-month and 6- and 11-year follow-ups.


Community-based sample from the city of Pelotas, located in southern Brazil with approximately 350 000 inhabitants. The maternal depression symptom trajectories were identified through a semi-parametric group-based modelling approach, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), with data from 3 months to 11 years postpartum.


A total of 3467 (81·9 % of the total cohort).


Five trajectory groups of EPDS scores were identified (‘Low’, ‘Moderate low’, ‘Increasing’, ‘Decreasing’ and ‘Chronic high’). A total of 170 women (4·9 %) from the sample belonged to the ‘Chronic high’ group, having scored ≥13 EPDS points at every follow-up. Mean BMI in the ‘Low’ trajectory group was 0·77 (z-score 1·4), compared with 0·56 (z-score 1·4) in the ‘Chronic high’ group. Children from mothers in the ‘Chronic high’ group had lower fat mass (FM) (–1·34 ± 0·64 kg), FM% (–2·02 ± 0·85 percentage points) and FM index (–0·57 ± 0·27 kg/m2), compared with children from mothers in the ‘Low’ trajectory group. Adjusted analyses showed that sustained or transitory maternal depressive symptoms during childhood had no effect on the offspring’s body composition indices at 11 years of age.


Children raised by chronically depressed mothers have body composition indices at 11 years of age that are similar to those of children whose mothers have never been depressed.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email


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Maternal depression trajectories from 3 months to 11 years postpartum and offspring body composition in early adolescence

  • Simone Farías-Antúnez (a1), Alicia Matijasevich (a2), Aluísio Jardim Dornellas de Barros (a1) and Iná da Silva dos Santos (a1)


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