Longitudinal assessment of symptoms of postpartum mood disorder in women with and without a history of depression

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2020 Jun;23(3):391-399. doi: 10.1007/s00737-019-00990-4. Epub 2019 Jul 26.


The main objective of the present study was to report the incidence, recurrence, prevalence, and course of depressive symptoms during the transition from late pregnancy to the postpartum period in healthy women with and without a history of depression. The study also aimed to examine the predictive value of a history of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)/premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) for peripartum depressive symptoms. A sample of 687 healthy women with (n = 192) and without (n = 495) a history of depression were included in the present analyses. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed during late pregnancy, 1-2 weeks postpartum, and 4-6 weeks postpartum using the German version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. PMS/PMDD was assessed retrospectively using the German version of the Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool. Women with a history of depression were twice more likely to show peripartum depressive symptoms than women without a history of depression. A history of symptoms of PMS/PMDD prior to the current pregnancy was associated with increased odds of peripartum depressive symptoms (p values < .05). Peripartum depressive symptoms are highly prevalent, especially in women with a history of depression and co-existing symptoms of PMS/PMDD. Screening for depression in the antenatal period is highly recommended, particularly for individuals with previous PMS/PMDD or a history of depression.

Keywords: History of depression; Postpartum depression; Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; Premenstrual syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder / epidemiology
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Puerperal Disorders
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult