Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

INTRODUCTION: Maternal antenatal depression is associated with an increased risk of emotional and behavioural problems in children. More recently antenatal depression has been associated with shorter sleep duration, higher number of awakenings and sleep problems in infants. Examining the effect of treatment of depression on child development is the next step in unravelling the complex association between antenatal depression and offspring development. METHODS: We used data from a pilot RCT of women with antenatal depression who received either Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Treatment as Usual (TAU), to examine infant sleep duration and temperament two months postpartum. Data was available for n=14 in the CBT group and n=11 in the TAU group. RESULTS: No differences by treatment arm were evident. Improvement in depression scores during pregnancy was associated with easier temperament (β=-.45, p=.024) and shorter nocturnal sleep duration (β=-.58, p=.003). The findings were more pronounced in the CBT group compared to the TAU group. LIMITATIONS: This was a pilot RCT and as such the sample size was small and there was some loss to follow up between the baseline and postnatal assessment. CONCLUSION: Improvement in antenatal depressive symptoms may have beneficial effects for the infant; whether these are directly through effects on foetal development or indirectly through changes in the postnatal mother-infant relationship remains to be determined.

Original publication




Journal article


J Affect Disord

Publication Date





252 - 256


Infant bio-behavioural organisation, Infant sleep, Infant temperament, Perinatal mood disorders, Psychological therapies, RCT, Cognitive Therapy, Depression, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant Behavior, Male, Mothers, Pilot Projects, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Psychotherapy, Group, Sleep, Temperament, Treatment Outcome