The association between social support and postpartum depression in women: A cross sectional study

Women Birth. 2019 Apr;32(2):e238-e242. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2018.07.014. Epub 2018 Sep 28.


Background: Prevalence of postpartum depression is estimated to be about 10-15% worldwide. Many risk factors are supposed to play a role leading a new mother to maternal postpartum depression which can considerably affect the baby, mother, family and also the society.

Objective: To investigate the prevalence of maternal postpartum depression and its association with social support.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional study, 200 new mothers who attended three teaching hospitals in Tehran, Iran were selected with a convenience sampling. Postpartum depression was assessed using the Iranian version of Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale and women's levels of social support were measured using the Iranian version of Social Support Questionnaire.

Results: Prevalence of postpartum depression was 43.5% in new mothers. The mean (±Standard Deviation) score of social support network was 2.09±0.99; which is lower in depressed mothers in comparison to non-depressed mothers (1.78±0.87 vs. 2.33±1.00 respectively, P<0.001). A reverse significant association was found between social support and postpartum depression after adjusting for confounding variables such as past history of depression, illness of baby and medication consumption during pregnancy (Odds Ratio=0.47, 95% Confidence Interval=0.33-0.67).

Conclusion: The bigger the social network of a mother, the less postpartum depression occurs. It is suggested to educate the family about the very important role of social support and improve it in every aspect of health care in order to prevent postpartum depression.

Keywords: Depression; Iran; Postpartum; Social support.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support*
  • Young Adult