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J Psychosom Res. 2011 Oct;71(4):264-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Prospective study of maternal depressive symptomatology among Japanese women.

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Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.



The primary objective of this study was to analyze the pattern of depressive moods related to pregnancy and postpartum in a dataset collected prospectively. A secondary objective was to assess the association between (1) low moods during pregnancy and postpartum depressive symptoms, and (2) maternity blues and postpartum depressive symptom.


Three hundred eighty-seven women completed self-administered questionnaires. The participants were asked to respond to Stein's Maternity Blues Scale (Stein's Scale) on five consecutive days after delivery and to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) during both pregnancy and postpartum.


32.0% of the women were identified as having a score of more than 9 on EPDS during pregnancy and postpartum. 21.6% of the women scored above the Stein's Scale cut-off point for at least 1 day during the 5-day period following delivery. The odds ratio (95% CI) for postpartum low mood if the women experienced low mood during pregnancy was 4.46 (2.48-8.04), while the odds ratio for postpartum depressive symptoms if the women experienced symptoms of maternity blues was 5.48 (2.74-10.98). In logistic regression analysis, the number of days in which women scored over the cut-off point by Stein's Scale proved to be the more significant predictor of scoring over the EPDS cutoff (8/9) [OR (95% CI)=2.74 (1.89-3.96)].


The rate of maternity blues in our findings was similar to the rates previously reported in Japan, but lower than the rates observed in Western countries. Furthermore, our longitudinal study confirms the likelihood of subsequent postpartum depressive symptoms if low moods during pregnancy and/or maternity blues are present.

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