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BMJ. 2001 Aug 4;323(7307):257-60.

Cohort study of depressed mood during pregnancy and after childbirth.

Author information

1
Division of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS2 8DZ. j.evans@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To follow mothers' mood through pregnancy and after childbirth and compare reported symptoms of depression at each stage.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal cohort study.

SETTING:

Avon.

PARTICIPANTS:

Pregnant women resident within Avon with an expected date of delivery between 1 April 1991 and 31 December 1992.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Symptom scores from the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy and 8 weeks and 8 months postpartum. Proportion of women above a threshold indicating probable depressive disorder.

RESULTS:

Depression scores were higher at 32 weeks of pregnancy than 8 weeks postpartum (difference in means 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.79 to 0.97). There was no difference in the distribution of total scores or scores for individual items at the four time points. 1222 (13.5%) women scored above threshold for probable depression at 32 weeks of pregnancy, 821 (9.1%) at 8 weeks postpartum, and 147 (1.6%) throughout. More mothers moved above the threshold for depression between 18 weeks and 32 weeks of pregnancy than between 32 weeks of pregnancy and 8 weeks postpartum.

CONCLUSIONS:

Symptoms of depression are not more common or severe after childbirth than during pregnancy. Research and clinical efforts need to be moved towards understanding, recognising, and treating antenatal depression.

PMID:
11485953
PMCID:
PMC35345
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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