Prenatal depression in Latinas in the U.S. and Mexico

Matern Child Health J. 2009 Jul;13(4):567-76. doi: 10.1007/s10995-008-0379-4. Epub 2008 Jun 26.


Objectives: The study aimed to investigate the prevalence of depressive symptoms and their associated risk factors during pregnancy in Latinas in the United States (U.S.) and Mexico.

Method: The sample included 108 women in the U.S. whose data were obtained from medical chart reviews in a community clinic in Washington, D.C., and 117 women in Mexico who participated in face-to-face interviews in the waiting rooms of primary care community centers in Mexico City. Variables, chosen to match in both countries for comparisons, were: socio-demographics, pregnancy gestation and order, social support, depressive symptoms, personal history of depression, family psychiatric history, and suicidal thoughts. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).

Results: The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 32.4% for pregnant Latinas and 36.8% for Mexicans (CES-D > or = 16), and 15.7% and 23.9% (CES-D > or = 24), respectively, with no differences between groups. Separate multiple logistic regression analyses showed that for U.S. Latinas: (1) being more educated predicted depressive symptoms (CES-D > or = 16), and (2) second trimester, as compared to first, also predicted symptoms (CES-D > or /= 24). (3) History of suicidal thoughts predicted symptoms in Latinas in the U.S. (CES-D > or = 24) and in Mexico (using both definitions of high symptoms), and (4) living with a partner but not formally married and multi-parous condition predicted symptoms (CES-D > or /= 24) among pregnant Mexicans.

Conclusions: A high prevalence of depressive symptoms and significant risk factors during pregnancy were found in Latinas in U.S. and Mexico, suggesting increased risk for postpartum major depression. Implications for screening and interventions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult