Objectives: To describe national and regional prevalence rates for significant depressive symptoms in women after 12 weeks during the postpartum period, and to identify predictors of postpartum depressive symptoms during this later time period.
Methods: Data from the Maternity Experiences Survey of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System were analyzed. Participants completed a computer-assisted telephone interview between 5 and 14 months during the postpartum period (n = 6421). Depressive symptomatology was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS ≥ 13). Proportions and odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using bootstrap methods to account for sample design and weighting adjustments.
Results: About 8% of Canadian women exhibited depressive symptoms past 12 weeks during the postpartum period. Prevalence rates varied between regions. In multivariable analysis, previous history of depression (OR 1.87; 95% CI 1.43 to 2.45, P < 0.001), low household income (OR 1.64; 95% CI 1.27 to 2.11, P < 0.001), low postpartum social support (OR 3.95; 95% CI 2.77 to 5.62, P < 0.001), stressful life events (OR 2.43; 95% CI 1.88 to 3.15, P < 0.001), interpersonal violence (OR 1.40; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.87, P = 0.02), and poor self-perceived maternal health (OR 4.48; 95% CI 3.15 to 6.38, P < 0.001) were independently associated with postpartum depressive symptoms. Regional differences in correlates of postpartum depressive symptoms were found.
Conclusions: The finding that depression rates are elevated throughout the first postpartum year is important because of the known negative impact of postpartum depression (PPD). Targeted public health interventions may be needed to reduce the prevalence of PPD and its associated impact.