Media Watch

This section of the APPPAH Newsletter is intended to draw attention to items in the news that are pertinent to prenatal and perinatal psychology. APPPAH does not necessarily agree with, or vouch for, the scientific worthiness of any of the news items mentioned here. We mean merely to take note of what is going on, so that you may.

INFANT FEEDING AND MATERNAL SLEEP

A study published online November 8th in the journal Pediatrics examines infant feeding methods and maternal sleep and daytime functioning during postpartum weeks 2 through 12. Researchers measured total sleep time, sleep efficiency and fragmentation, subjectively reported numbers of nocturnal awakenings, total nocturnal wake time, sleep quality and sleepiness/fatigue. They report no difference between women who were exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively formula feeding or using a combination of the two methods. They conclude that efforts to encourage women to breastfeed should include information about sleep. In particular, women should be told that formula feeding does not equal improved sleep. To review the study online, go to: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2010-1269v1.

SOFT DRINKS LINKED TO PRETERM DELIVERY?

A study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds an association between high intake of artificially-sweetened soft drinks and the risk of preterm delivery. However, the association was not found with sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and the authors call for additional investigation. In WebMD's coverage, the lead researcher frames his findings for the public: "We simply need more studies to confirm or reject our findings. It is, however, reasonable to encourage pregnant women to eat healthy and consume non-nutritive foods and beverages in moderation."

EARLY BABY/MOTHER RELATIONSHIPS AND LATER OUTCOMES

A recently published American study shows that babies who are given more love and affection by their mothers cope better with stress when they grow up. The study used data from the Providence Rhode Island birth cohort, and rated the relationships between 482 eight-month-old babies and their mothers during routine developmental assessments. The children were then tracked down at age 34. Results showed that high levels of maternal affection at 8 months were associated with significantly lower levels of distress in adult offspring. These findings suggest that early nurturing and warmth have long-lasting positive effects on mental health well into adulthood. For more details of: Mother's affection at 8 months predicts emotional distress in adulthood, by J Maselko, and others, published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Online First, 26 July 2010, visit: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2010/07/07/jech.2009.097873.abstract?sid=0e8d39df-537a-4ed4-876b-fd18fe9ed998

FROM THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS

Clinical Report—Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Into Pediatric Practice. Marian F. Earls, MD, THE COMMITTEE ON PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH. Every year, more than 400, 000 infants are born to mothers who are depressed, which makes perinatal depression the most under diagnosed obstetric complication in America. Postpartum depression leads to increased costs of medical care, inappropriate medical care, child abuse and neglect, discontinuation of breastfeeding, and family dysfunction and adversely affects early brain development. Pediatric practices, as medical homes, can establish a system to implement postpartum depression screening and to identify and use community resources for the treatment and referral of the depressed mother and support for the mother-child (dyad) relationship. This system would have a positive effect on the health and well-being of the infant and family. State chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, working with state Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) and maternal and child health programs, can increase awareness of the need for perinatal depression screening in the obstetric and pediatric periodicity of care schedules and ensure payment. Pediatricians must advocate for workforce development for professionals who care for very young children and for promotion of evidence-based interventions focused on healthy attachment and parent-child relationships.

INFANT PAIN, ADULT REPERCUSSIONS: HOW INFANT PAIN CHANGES SENSITIVITY IN ADULTS

Scientists at Georgia State University have uncovered the mechanisms of how pain in infancy alters how the brain processes pain in adulthood. ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2009)