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More maternal mental health surveillance is needed, suggests new study
Date:5/20/2014

Maternal depression is more common at four years following childbirth than at any other time in the first 12 months after childbirth, and there needs to be a greater focus on maternal mental health, suggests a new study published today (21 May) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The study using data from 1507 women from six public hospitals in Melbourne, Australia, examines the prevalence of maternal depression from early pregnancy to four years postpartum. The researchers identify the possible risk factors for depressive symptoms at four years postpartum, including previous depression, relationship transitions, intimate partner violence and social adversity.

Questionnaires were completed at recruitment and at 3, 6, 12, 18 months postpartum and four years postpartum. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used in the questionnaire and intimate partner abuse was assessed at 12 months postpartum and at four years using the Composite Abuse Scale.

Results show that almost one in three women reported depressive symptoms in the first four years after birth. The prevalence of depressive symptoms at four years postpartum was 14.5%, and was higher than at any time-point in the first 12 months postpartum.

Furthermore, women with one child at four years postpartum were more than twice as likely to report depressive symptoms at this time compared to women with subsequent children (22.9% and 11.3% respectively).

The strongest predictor of depressive symptoms at four years postpartum was having previously reported depressive symptoms either in early pregnancy or in the first 12 months after childbirth. Other factors associated with depressive symptoms were; young maternal age (18-24 years), stressful life events/social adversity in the year prior to the four year follow-up, intimate partner violence and low income. Exposure to intimate partner abuse in the first 12 months postpartum or
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Contact: Nicole Weingartner
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
201-748-5808
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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