Severe fatigue and depressive symptoms in lower-income urban postpartum women

West J Nurs Res. 2009 Aug;31(5):599-612. doi: 10.1177/0193945909333890.


The purpose of this study was to identify whether severe postpartum fatigue at 1 and 3 months postpartum was associated with depressive symptomatology at 6 months in lower-income urban women. A convenience sample of 43 lower-income postpartum women completed the Modified Fatigue Symptoms Checklist and Edinburgh Postpartum Depression scale at 1, 3, and 6 months postpartum. Participants who were severely fatigued at both 1 and 3 months postpartum were significantly more likely to exhibit depressive symptomatology at 6 months. Fatigue and depressive symptoms were moderately to strongly correlated at 1 (r = .68), 3 (r = .74), and 6 (r = .70) months postpartum (p = .001). Severe fatigue and depressive symptomatology often co-exist for months after childbirth. Future research should examine whether interventions to targeting severe postpartum fatigue in lower-income urban women may also effectively reduce depressive symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Depression, Postpartum / physiopathology*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Poverty*
  • Urban Population*