A comparison of anxiety and depressive symptomatology in postpartum and non-postpartum mothers

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2003 Oct;38(10):551-6. doi: 10.1007/s00127-003-0679-3.


Background: The aim of the study was to compare the distribution of symptoms of anxiety and depression among postpartum as compared with non-postpartum mothers, and to estimate the impact of the postpartum period on the risk of anxiety and depression when adjusted for other risk factors.

Methods: A questionnaire survey approaching all women 18-40 years of age in two municipalities in Norway during the period 1998-1999 was conducted. A total of 2,730 women were included, of whom 416 were in the postpartum period. Only women with one or more deliveries (n = 1,794) were included in the multivariate analyses.

Results: The crude prevalence of anxiety and depression was lower in postpartum as compared to non-postpartum mothers. However, when controlling for other risk factors, the odds ratio for anxiety was 1.2 (95% CI: 0.6-2.3) and for depression 1.8 (95% CI: 1.1-2.9) during the postpartum period.

Conclusion: The overall risk of anxiety appeared to be the same in both groups, whereas the risk of depression was increased in the postpartum group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires