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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2012 Apr;125(4):318-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01784.x. Epub 2011 Nov 25.

Prevalence of antidepressant use and contacts with psychiatrists and psychologists in pregnant and postpartum women.

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  • 1National Centre for Register-Based Research, Aarhus University, Taasingegade, Denmark.



We aimed to study prevalence of antidepressant drug use from 12 months prior childbirth to 12 months postpartum and to compare the prevalences with those in a group of women of similar age who did not give birth. We additionally studied prevalences of contacts with private practicing psychiatrists and psychologists during a similar time period.


Our study population comprised of pregnant women, and their controls were drawn from a 25% sample of the entire Danish population. Information on redeemed prescriptions for antidepressants and referrals to psychiatrists and psychologists was extracted. The outcome measure was period prevalence calculated in 3-month intervals from 12 months before childbirth to 12 months postpartum.


In the 2-year observation period around childbirth, 2733 (3.17%) women had one or more prescriptions for an antidepressant and 935 (1.18%) and 1399 (1.76%) were referred to consultations with a psychiatrist or psychologist, respectively. Women giving birth had a markedly lower use of antidepressants compared to controls, with the largest observed difference during third trimester of pregnancy (0.6% vs. 2.20%).


We found that the prevalence of redeemed prescriptions for antidepressants decreased during pregnancy and increased postpartum. Similar patterns were observed for contacts with private practicing psychiatrists and psychologists.

© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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