The role of maternal depressed mood and behavioural soothing on infant response to routine vaccination.Acta Paediatr. 2006 Dec; 95(12):1680-4.AP
It has been hypothesized that maternal characteristics may affect infants' experience of pain during stressful medical procedures.
To investigate the role of maternal depressed mood on infants' response to vaccination, and to determine the effectiveness of different soothing behaviours in reducing infant distress.
Twenty-eight mothers and their healthy, full-term infants participated in a prospective study. At infant age 2 mo, mothers completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and an adapted version of the Profile of Mood States (POMS); at infant age 4.5 mo, mothers were administered the mood scale and were observed with their infants during routine vaccination.
Higher levels of maternal depressed mood were predictive of a stronger infant pain response at routine vaccination. Contingencies derived from sequential analyses revealed that the soothing behaviours most effective in reducing infant distress were holding and face-to-face contact, whereas looking at the child from a distance was significantly associated with an increase in infant distress.
Our findings suggest that interventions to reduce infant pain during stressful medical procedures may include early detection and referral for maternal postpartum depression as well as the promotion of soothing behaviours involving close physical and emotional contact between mother and baby.