Mood disorders, Mother-child relations, Postpartum, Postpartum depression



  1. Lindensmith, Rebekah BHSc, BScN


Introduction: During the postpartum period, women may have changes in their mental health and experience postpartum mood disorders. Postpartum depression (PPD) is an especially prevalent postpartum mood disorder, affecting 10% to 15% of new mothers. Although PPD has detrimental effects on women's health, it can also affect maternal-infant attachment, bonding, and interaction, which influence the maternal-infant relationship and can lead to poor outcomes for infants later in life. The purpose of this review is to identify effective strategies for improving the maternal-infant relationship for mothers with postpartum mood disorders.


Methods: A literature search was conducted via three databases: PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Medline using key search terms. A total of 1,347 articles were scanned to determine their relevance; 19 articles were selected for review. Inclusion criteria included articles in English that focused in the postpartum period and measured outcomes related to the maternal-infant relationship.


Results: Infant massage appears to benefit the maternal-infant relationship, whereas psychotherapy and education had mixed results. Pharmacological interventions were not found to improve maternal-infant relationships. Family involvement was shown to improve infant attachment, but not the maternal-infant relationship.


Clinical Implications: Nurses should be aware of the importance of including interventions targeted at improving the maternal-infant relationship for women with postpartum mood disorders, especially PPD. However, data are limited, thus more research is needed to develop evidence-based strategies that can be implemented to support women experiencing postpartum mood disorders and their infants.