Anxiety and depression in hyperemesis gravidarum: prevalence, risk factors and correlation with clinical severity

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 Apr;149(2):153-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2009.12.031. Epub 2010 Jan 25.


Objective: To evaluate prevalence, risk factors and clinical severity correlates of anxiety and depression caseness in hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

Study design: A prospective study of self-assessment using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was performed. Women at their first hospitalization for HG were recruited as soon as possible after hospital admission. Cut-off at the score of 7/8 was used for both the anxiety and depression subscales of HADS to denote anxiety and depression caseness respectively. Risk factors for anxiety and depression caseness were identified using Chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, Mann-Whitney's U-test or the Student's t-test. Multivariable logistic regression analysis incorporating all co-variables with crude P<0.1 was performed to identify independent risk factors. Bivariate analyses were performed to identify associations between clinical markers of severity and anxiety and depression caseness. Prolonged hospitalization and a number of biochemical and hematological abnormalities were used as clinical markers of HG severity.

Results: Criteria for anxiety and depression caseness were fulfilled in 98/209 (46.9%) and 100/209 (47.8%) women respectively. 78 (37.3%) participants fulfilled the criteria for both anxiety and depression caseness, 89 (42.6%) neither, 20 (9.6%) anxiety caseness only and 22 (10.5%) depression caseness only. Gestational age at commencement of vomiting, duration of vomiting leading up to hospitalization and paid employment status had crude P<0.1 in association with anxiety caseness. After adjustment, only paid employment was independently associated with anxiety caseness (AOR 2.9 95% CI 1.3-6.5; P=0.009). Previous miscarriage, gestational age at commencement of vomiting and duration of vomiting leading up to hospitalization all had P<0.1 in association with depression caseness. After adjustment, only previous miscarriage was negatively associated with depression caseness (AOR 0.4 95% CI 0.2-0.9; P=0.022). There was no marker of HG severity associated with anxiety caseness on bivariate analysis. High hematocrit was associated with depression caseness (OR 2.1 95% CI 1.1-3.9; P=0.027).

Conclusion: Anxiety and depression caseness is common in HG and risk factors can be identified. There is no convincing association between anxiety and depression and more severe illness. Psychological symptoms may be a response to physical illness but further studies are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / epidemiology*
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / etiology
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors