Postpartum depression and help-seeking behavior

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2009 Jan-Feb;54(1):50-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2008.07.003.


The objective of this analysis was to investigate the demographic differences between women who report postpartum depression symptoms (PPDS) and seek help versus those who report symptoms but who do not seek help, using data from the Utah Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) 2004 dataset. Overall, 14.7% of Utah women reported experiencing PPDS in 2004. Sixty percent of the women who reported having PPDS did not seek help. Seeking help for depression during pregnancy was associated with help-seeking behavior postpartum (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.04-0.2). Other factors associated with seeking help included having an infant admitted to the intensive care unit (aOR = 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-0.9) and rural residency (aOR = 0.3; 95% CI, 0.2-0.7). Nonwhite women were 12.1 times (95% CI, 3.0-48.5) more likely to not seek help for depression compared to white women. Further, Hispanic women (aOR = 3.2; 95% CI, 1.3-8.1) and women who experienced emotional abuse had increased odds of not seeking help (aOR = 2.9; 95% CI, 1.3-6.2). Nearly 15% of Utah women in this study reported PPDS, yet fewer than half sought help. Target populations, such as nonwhite, Hispanic, emotionally abused, and urban women, have been identified for public health interventions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum* / ethnology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Maternal Behavior / ethnology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / ethnology
  • Postnatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Utah
  • Young Adult