Detection of postpartum depression and anxiety in a large health plan

J Behav Health Serv Res. 2004 Apr-Jun;31(2):117-33. doi: 10.1007/BF02287376.


To determine the prevalence of diagnosed and/or treated postpartum depression and anxiety, records were extracted for 1 year after delivery from databases of outpatient diagnoses and prescriptions, for women in a health maintenance organization who had delivered a child from July 1997 through June 1998. For comparison, telephone interviews were conducted 5 to 9 months after delivery with random samples of women who delivered at 2 facilities from June 1998 through January 1999. Of the women interviewed, 11% met criteria for major depression during the first 4 months postpartum, and an additional 13% met criteria for probable depression at 5 to 9 months postpartum. In contrast 7.0% of the large cohort had a visit or prescription for depression. The 1-year prevalence rate for diagnosed and/or treated anxiety without depression was 3.8%; the rate at time of interview was 14.7%. Overall, less than 33% of women with substantial depression or anxiety symptoms were detected.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Depression, Postpartum / complications
  • Depression, Postpartum / drug therapy
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Prevalence


  • Antidepressive Agents