Perinatal Depression: A Systematic Review of Prevalence and Incidence

Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Nov;106(5 Pt 1):1071-83. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000183597.31630.db.

Abstract

Objective: We systematically review evidence on the prevalence and incidence of perinatal depression and compare these rates with those of depression in women at non-childbearing times.

Data sources: We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Sociofile for English-language articles published from 1980 through March 2004, conducted hand searches of bibliographies, and consulted with experts.

Methods of study selection: We included cross-sectional, cohort, and case-control studies from developed countries that assessed women for depression during pregnancy or the first year postpartum with a structured clinical interview.

Tabulation, integration, and results: Of the 109 articles reviewed, 28 met our inclusion criteria. For major and minor depression (major depression alone), the combined point prevalence estimates from meta-analyses ranged from 6.5% to 12.9% (1.0-5.6%) at different trimesters of pregnancy and months in the first postpartum year. The combined period prevalence shows that as many as 19.2% (7.1%) of women have a depressive episode (major depressive episode) during the first 3 months postpartum; most of these episodes have onset following delivery. All estimates have wide 95% confidence intervals, showing significant uncertainty in their true levels. No conclusions could be made regarding the relative incidence of depression among pregnant and postpartum women compared with women at non-childbearing times.

Conclusion: To better delineate periods of peak prevalence and incidence for perinatal depression and identify high risk subpopulations, we need studies with larger and more representative samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence