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.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.