Depression during pregnancy and after delivery: a repeated measurement study

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Mar;25(1):15-21. doi: 10.1080/01674820410001737405.


The aim of this study was to examine the risk of depression in the postpartum period (first four months after delivery) as compared to the remaining postnatal year and the pregnancy period. All postpartum women from two municipalities in Norway were included in a questionnaire study of mental health (n = 416). Over 50% of the women (n = 259) answered an identical questionnaire at an additional time either before or after the postpartum period. The level of depression was measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Hopkins Symptom Check List-25 items (SCL-25). The point prevalence of depression (EPDS> or =10) in the first four months postpartum did not differ significantly as compared to other time periods during pregnancy and the postnatal year. This finding remained also after controlling for other risk factors of depression; high score on the life event scale, prior depression and poor partner relationship. There was a non-significant trend of lower prevalence of depression during early pregnancy and after the first eight postnatal months. In conclusion, our findings suggest that the first four months postpartum were not distinguished by higher depression prevalence as compared to other time periods during pregnancy and the first postnatal year.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support
  • Time Factors
  • Women's Health*