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Maternal mental health during pregnancy and postpartum predicts later emotional and behavioural problems in children. Even though most perinatal mental health problems begin before pregnancy, the consequences of preconception maternal mental health for children's early emotional development have not been prospectively studied.
We used data from two prospective Australian intergenerational cohorts, with 756 women assessed repeatedly for mental health problems before pregnancy between age 13 and 29 years, and during pregnancy and at 1 year postpartum for 1231 subsequent pregnancies. Offspring infant emotional reactivity, an early indicator of differential sensitivity denoting increased risk of emotional problems under adversity, was assessed at 1 year postpartum.
Thirty-seven percent of infants born to mothers with persistent preconception mental health problems were categorised as high in emotional reactivity, compared to 23% born to mothers without preconception history (adjusted OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4–3.1). Ante- and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms were similarly associated with infant emotional reactivity, but these perinatal associations reduced somewhat after adjustment for prior exposure. Causal mediation analysis further showed that 88% of the preconception risk was a direct effect, not mediated by perinatal exposure.
Maternal preconception mental health problems predict infant emotional reactivity, independently of maternal perinatal mental health; while associations between perinatal depressive symptoms and infant reactivity are partially explained by prior exposure. Findings suggest that processes shaping early vulnerability for later mental disorders arise well before conception. There is an emerging case for expanding developmental theories and trialling preventive interventions in the years before pregnancy.
Self-harm in young people is associated with later problems in social and emotional development. However, it is unknown whether self-harm in young women continues to be a marker of vulnerability on becoming a parent. This study prospectively describes the associations between pre-conception self-harm, maternal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems.
The Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS) is a follow-up to the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study (VAHCS) in Australia. Socio-demographic and health variables were assessed at 10 time-points (waves) from ages 14 to 35, including self-reported self-harm at waves 3–9. VIHCS enrolment began in 2006 (when participants were aged 28–29 years), by contacting VAHCS women every 6 months to identify pregnancies over a 7-year period. Perinatal depressive symptoms were assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during the third trimester, and 2 and 12 months postpartum. Mother–infant bonding problems were assessed with the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire at 2 and 12 months postpartum.
Five hundred sixty-four pregnancies from 384 women were included. One in 10 women (9.7%) reported pre-conception self-harm. Women who reported self-harming in young adulthood (ages 20–29) reported higher levels of perinatal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems at all perinatal time points [perinatal depressive symptoms adjusted β = 5.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.42–7.39; mother–infant bonding problems adjusted β = 7.51, 95% CI 3.09–11.92]. There was no evidence that self-harm in adolescence (ages 15–17) was associated with either perinatal outcome.
Self-harm during young adulthood may be an indicator of future vulnerability to perinatal mental health and mother–infant bonding problems.
To synthesize the existing evidence base of systematic reviews of interventions to improve healthcare worker (HCW) hand hygiene compliance (HHC).
PRISMA guidelines were followed, and 10 information sources were searched in September 2017, with no limits to language or date of publication, and papers were screened against inclusion criteria for relevance. Data were extracted and risk of bias was assessed.
Overall, 19 systematic reviews (n=20 articles) were included. Only 1 article had a low risk of bias. Moreover, 15 systematic reviews showed positive effects of interventions on HCW HHC, whereas 3 reviews evaluating monitoring technology did not. Findings regarding whether multimodal rather than single interventions are preferable were inconclusive. Targeting social influence, attitude, self-efficacy, and intention were associated with greater effectiveness. No clear link emerged between how educational interventions were delivered and effectiveness.
This is the first systematic review of systematic reviews of interventions to improve HCW HHC. The evidence is sufficient to recommend the implementation of interventions to improve HCW HHC (except for monitoring technology), but it is insufficient to make specific recommendations regarding the content or how the content should be delivered. Future research should rigorously apply behavior change theory, and recommendations should be clearly described with respect to intervention content and how it is delivered. Such recommendations should be tested for longer terms using stronger study designs with clearly defined outcomes.
We examined prospective associations between men's common mental disorders in the decades prior to offspring conception and subsequent paternal antenatal mental health problems. Data came from a prospective intergenerational cohort study which assessed common mental disorder nine times from age 14 to 29 years, and in the third trimester of subsequent pregnancies to age 35 years (N = 295 pregnancies to 214 men). Men with histories of adolescent and young adult common mental disorders were over four times more likely to experience antenatal mental health problems. Future research identifying modifiable perinatal factors that counteract preconception risk would provide further targets for intervention.
Declaration of interest
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