A1 Journal article – refereed
An educational intervention for NICU staff decreased maternal postpartum depression

List of Authors: Ahlqvist-Björkroth S., Axelin A., Korja R., Lehtonen L.
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Pediatric Research
Journal name in source: Pediatric Research
eISSN: 1530-0447



Mothers of preterm infants are at increased risk for postpartum depression, which may disturb parenting and child development. Strategies for prevention are needed. Therefore, we evaluated how an educational intervention for neonatal staff affected depression symptoms among mothers of preterm infants.


The Close Collaboration with Parents intervention was implemented in the NICU at Turku University Hospital in Finland. Maternal depression was compared between the pre-intervention and post-intervention cohorts using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. The eligible infants were born ≤1500 g without major anomalies and survived. Data were available from 145 and 93 mothers in the pre-intervention and post-intervention cohorts, respectively, at 4 and/or 6 months of corrected age.


The depression scores were significantly lower in the post-intervention cohort than in the pre-intervention cohort; the estimated difference was 2.54 points (95% CI, 1.24–3.83), p < 0.001. A total of 10.3% of the mothers in the pre-intervention cohort and 2.1% in the post-intervention cohort exceeded the threshold for depression, p = 0.066.


The Close Collaboration with Parents intervention decreased depression symptoms among the mothers of very preterm infants. Systematic educational intervention targeted to the whole NICU staff can potentially prevent postnatal depression among mothers of preterm infants.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 21:15