Effect of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate on postpartum depression

Contraception. 2010 Aug;82(2):174-7. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 Apr 13.


Background: Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is commonly prescribed to women immediately postpartum due to its efficacy, convenience and lack of estrogen. It is unclear whether administering a progestin injection can affect the course of postpartum depression (PPD), which some suspect to be influenced by hormonal changes. In this retrospective study, the objective was to determine whether DMPA administered immediately postpartum influences the development of PPD.

Study design: A retrospective review of a total of 404 charts was conducted of clinic patients who were scheduled for 6-week postpartum visits at a major medical center, where all patients are routinely asked to complete the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The average scores on the EPDS at these visits were compared between patients who had received DMPA prior to postpartum discharge from the hospital and patients who had not received any hormonal contraception by using an unpaired t test. In addition, the proportions of women diagnosed with PPD via the scale were compared via contingency tables.

Results: Fifty-five women who had received immediate DMPA were compared with 192 women with no hormonal contraception after delivery. The groups were similar in parity, race, mode of delivery and weight, but women receiving DMPA were significantly younger (24.2 vs. 26.2 years, p=.03). Mean EPDS scores at 6 weeks postpartum were not statistically significant between the groups (5.02 vs. 6.17, p=.16). Six patients (10.9%) who received immediate DMPA were diagnosed with PPD based on EPDS scores greater than or equal to 13, while 27 (14.1%) in the comparison group had PPD (p=.88).

Conclusion: Administration of DMPA in the immediate postpartum period does not appear to predispose women to PPD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Synthetic / pharmacology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / pharmacology*
  • Ohio
  • Postpartum Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Synthetic
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate