September 28, 2007
One in Seven Women are Depressed Before, During, or After Pregnancy, KP Study Shows
One in seven women are depressed at some time immediately before, during, or after pregnancy, and more than half of women who experienced postpartum depression had also been depressed before or during pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study released Sept. 27.
Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research conducted the study, which is believed to be the first integrated survey of maternal depression. The study profiled 4,398 women who gave birth between 1998 and 2001. It found that 8.7 percent were identified as depressed in the nine months before pregnancy, 6.9 percent during pregnancy, and 10.4 percent after pregnancy.
Nearly three-fourths of women with postpartum depression also were depressed before pregnancy, and more than half of the women depressed before pregnancy then became depressed during their pregnancy, the study found.
"These findings show we need to pay more attention to depression before pregnancy," said Evelyn Whitlock, MD, MPH, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and co-author of the study. "Doctors and the public tend to focus more on postpartum depression because of the huge gap between a new mother's joyful expectations and the crushing reality of depression."
The study was first published in the October 2007 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
For more information, read this news release.