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Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Oct;62(603):e671-8. doi: 10.3399/bjgp12X656801.

Impact of socioeconomic deprivation on maternal perinatal mental illnesses presenting to UK general practice.

Author information

1
Division of Epidemiology & Public Health, Nottingham City Hospital, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although maternal perinatal mental illnesses commonly present to and are primarily treated in general practice, few population-based estimates of this burden exist, and the most affected socioeconomic groups of pregnant women remain unclear.

AIM:

To provide estimates of maternal depression, anxiety and serious mental illness (SMI) in UK general practice and quantify impacts of socioeconomic deprivation.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Cross-sectional analysis of prospectively recorded general practice records from a UK-wide database.

METHOD:

A pregnancy ending in live birth was randomly selected for every woman of childbearing age, 1994-2009. Prevalence and diagnostic overlap of mental illnesses were calculated using a combination of medical diagnoses and psychotropic drug prescriptions. Socioeconomic deprivation was assessed using multivariate logistic regression, adjusting for calendar period and pregnancy history.

RESULTS:

Among 116 457 women, 5.1% presented with antenatal depression and 13.3% with postnatal depression. Equivalent figures for anxiety were 2.6% and 3.7% and for SMI 1/1000 and 2/1000 women. Socioeconomic deprivation increased the risk of all mental illnesses, although this was more marked in older women. Those age 35-45 years in the most deprived group had 2.63 times the odds of antenatal depression (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.22 to 3.13) compared with the least deprived; in women aged 15-25 years the increased odds associated with deprivation was more modest (odds ratio = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.07 to 1.70). Similar patterns were found for anxiety and SMI.

CONCLUSION:

Strong socioeconomic inequalities in perinatal mental illness persist with increasing maternal age. Targeting detection and effective interventions to high-risk women may reduce inequity and avoid substantial psychiatric morbidity.

PMID:
23265226
PMCID:
PMC3459774
DOI:
10.3399/bjgp12X656801
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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