Prevalence of antidepressant use and contacts with psychiatrists and psychologists in pregnant and postpartum women

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2012 Apr;125(4):318-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01784.x. Epub 2011 Nov 25.


Objective: We aimed to study prevalence of antidepressant drug use from 12 months prior childbirth to 12 months postpartum and to compare the prevalences with those in a group of women of similar age who did not give birth. We additionally studied prevalences of contacts with private practicing psychiatrists and psychologists during a similar time period.

Method: Our study population comprised of pregnant women, and their controls were drawn from a 25% sample of the entire Danish population. Information on redeemed prescriptions for antidepressants and referrals to psychiatrists and psychologists was extracted. The outcome measure was period prevalence calculated in 3-month intervals from 12 months before childbirth to 12 months postpartum.

Results: In the 2-year observation period around childbirth, 2733 (3.17%) women had one or more prescriptions for an antidepressant and 935 (1.18%) and 1399 (1.76%) were referred to consultations with a psychiatrist or psychologist, respectively. Women giving birth had a markedly lower use of antidepressants compared to controls, with the largest observed difference during third trimester of pregnancy (0.6% vs. 2.20%).

Conclusion: We found that the prevalence of redeemed prescriptions for antidepressants decreased during pregnancy and increased postpartum. Similar patterns were observed for contacts with private practicing psychiatrists and psychologists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / drug therapy*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology


  • Antidepressive Agents