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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU Study: Postpartum Depression Linked to Stressors during Pregnancy

Pregnant women who argued with their partners, had financial problems, or reported other kinds of stress were more likely to experience postpartum depression, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The study, published online in the Journal of Women’s Health, recommends that women be routinely screened during pregnancy for a range of stressors and encouraged to seek help for postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS).

Researchers analyzed responses from more than 5,000 mothers who participated in the Massachusetts Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System between 2007 and 2010. They evaluated associations between a dozen perinatal stressors, categorized into four groups—partner, traumatic, financial, and emotional—and postpartum depression and subsequent help-seeking behaviors.

They found a “strong dose-response relationship” between the number of stressors reported by the mothers and PDS prevalence. Almost half of the mothers reported between one and three stressors (47.7 percent), while 9.3 percent had four to six stressors, and 1.3 percent had seven or more stressors. The prevalence of PDS climbed as the number of stressors increased.

“These data suggest that women should be routinely screened during pregnancy for a range of stressors and encouraged to seek help for PDS,” the authors said.

To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/03/23/postpartum-depression-linked-to-stressors-during-pregnancy/