Background: Functional gastrointestinal disorders are often extremely distressing for
the infant and parents, leading to infant discomfort and crying, parental anxiety, repeated healthcare
consultations, and escalating healthcare costs.
Aim: In this narrative review, we analyzed the relationship between maternal psychological status
during pregnancy and postpartum and the main infantile functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Materials and Methods: The narrative review was conducted searching scientific databases for articles
reporting on infantile functional gastrointestinal disorders in association with maternal depressive
or anxiety disorders.
Results: Seven studies were suitable.
Discussion: Maternal psychological disorders may be correlated to infantile functional gastrointestinal
disorders. Whether it is the excessive crying that favors the onset of maternal psychological
disorders or, in contrast, an altered attachment style due to the maternal status that facilitates the
onset of functional gastrointestinal disorders in the infant is still an open question. Recent findings
revealed that both anxious and depressed mothers are more likely to have an adverse gut microbiome.
Conclusion: A healthy interaction of the mother-baby dyad is advantageous in ensuring the mental
and physical development of the offspring. Gynecologists, general practitioners and pediatricians
should be alert for early identification of mothers at risk with the aim to initiate timely targeted interventions.
Further research on the role of microbiota and the possible therapeutic approaches with
probiotics is required.