The association between pregnancy processes, preterm delivery, low birth weight, and postpartum depressions--the need for interdisciplinary integration

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Oct;193(4):1312-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2005.02.103.


Pregnancy and peripartum/perinatal periods are characterized by significant biologic as well as psychosocial processes and changes that influence the 2 individuals at focus (mother and fetus), as well as their interactions with the immediate environment. Multiple intertwined pathologic pregnancy processes (hormonal, biologic, stress and other mental occurrences) may lead to fetal distress, preterm delivery (PTD), low birth weight (LBW), and other delivery complications as well as to postpartum disorders. PTD and LBW in particular have been demonstrated to be associated with significant mortality as well as short- and long-term morbidity. Underlying processes and risk factors for PTD, LBW and postpartum disorders may overlap. Their impact on the offspring is compounded. Currently, the multiple clinical and research disciplines that are concerned with the various aspects of pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period are not conceptually and practically integrated. Specifically, obstetricians are more concerned with delivery complications, whereas mental health professionals are concerned with postpartum depression. An interdisciplinary approach is needed for better understanding of developmental processes and the development of measurements and interventions to prevent long-term impact on the offspring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Patient Care Team
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology