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J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Mar;25(1):23-34.

In the shadow of maternal depressed mood: experiences of parenthood during the first year after childbirth.

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Department of Woman and Child Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


To study the period and point prevalence of maternal depressive mood at three occasions before and after childbirth, and the relationship to the parents' psychosocial conditions and experiences of parenthood during the first year after childbirth. In a longitudinal community-based study, 434 pregnant women were invited to complete the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) (cut-off score 9/10) at three time points. The parents' psychosocial conditions and experiences of parenthood were enquired at two months and at one year after childbirth, when the form Experience of Motherhood/Fatherhood Questionnaire (EMQ/EFQ) was applied. Three times measurement responses from both men and women were analyzed using non-parametric statistical methods and path-analysis. About 75% of the parents responded to the questionnaires. The period prevalence was 28%, and the point prevalence found on the three time points was EPDS I 21%, EPDS II 17% and EPDS III 12%. Correlations between antenatal and postnatal depressive symptoms were found, r = 0.61 and r = 0.45, respectively. Women, who experienced financial worries, lack of social support and losses and strains after childbirth showed more symptoms of depressed mood. The maternal depressive mood influenced negatively on breastfeeding and experiences of motherhood, but not on experiences of fatherhood. The partners of depressed women were neither more involved in childcare nor did they utilize paternal leave more than the other men. Both men and women reported the sexual life as negatively influenced by the women's depressed mood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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