Antenatal risk factors associated with postpartum comorbid alcohol use and depressive symptomatology

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2004 Aug;28(8):1242-8. doi: 10.1097/01.alc.0000134217.43967.97.


Background: High rates of comorbid depression and alcohol use disorders have been reported in epidemiological studies; little work has considered comorbidity in women during the perinatal period. The goal of this work was to identify prenatal factors (at each trimester) that predicted postpartum comorbid depressive symptoms and alcohol use in women.

Methods: The data are from an ongoing longitudinal study of pregnancy outcome that is now in its 16th year of follow-up. The first four assessments were used in this study (fourth and seventh prenatal months, delivery, and 8 months after delivery; n = 595). Prenatal variables in five domains (psychological, substance use, social, obstetrical, and demographic) were considered in analyses to predict postpartum comorbid depressive symptoms and alcohol use in women.

Results: At each trimester, higher rates of depressive symptoms, binge drinking (four or more drinks per occasion), and tobacco use were significantly associated with comorbidity at the eighth postpartum month. Third-trimester anxiety was also significantly associated with postpartum comorbidity. Prenatal social support, obstetrical complications, and demographic factors were not related to an increased risk for postpartum comorbidity.

Conclusions: Women with more depressive symptoms, who binge-drink, or who smoke cigarettes at any time during their pregnancies are at risk for postpartum comorbidity. Women should be screened for depressive symptoms and substance use, and treatment should be initiated when women exhibit the risk factors described.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Comorbidity
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / psychology*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors