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PAS 2018: Mothers of infants with NAS report higher postpartum depression, anxiety :

May 5, 2018

Mothers of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) are more likely to have postpartum mental health issues than other mothers, according to a new study.

Researchers studied 338 mothers and their mental health issues in the 12 months after delivery. They will present their abstract “Mental Health Outcomes of Mothers with Infants Diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome” on Monday during the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Toronto.

The team used data from the Truven MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database for 2005-’13 to match mothers of newborns with NAS to a control based on the mother’s age, baby’s gestational age, stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and maternal mental health in the nine months before delivery.

Among mothers of an infant with NAS,

  • 33% had major depression (compared to 11% of controls);
  • 27% had anxiety (compared to 1% of controls);
  • 9% had an adjustment reaction (compared to 4% of controls); and
  • 7% had postpartum depression (compared to none of controls).

“In the presence of the ongoing opioid epidemic across North America and beyond, evaluation of the far-reaching consequences of this crisis is crucial,” lead author Tammy Corr, D.O., FAAP, said in a news release. “For new mothers affected by substance use disorders, careful, repeated mental health screenings over the course of the first year of her baby’s life may be beneficial to both the mother and her infant.”

Authors called for programs to support these mothers as they may have difficulty coping with their child’s health issues. About 73% of the infants with NAS spent time in the NICU.

For additional AAP News coverage of PAS, visit


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