Association Between Mental Health Conditions at the Hospitalization for Birth and Postpartum Hospital Readmission

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2023 Sep;32(9):982-991. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2022.0481. Epub 2023 Jun 16.


Background: The relationship between physical comorbidities and postpartum hospital readmission is well studied, with less research regarding the impact of mental health conditions on postpartum readmission. Methods: Using hospital discharge data (2016-2019) from the Hospital Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Readmissions Database (n = 12,222,654 weighted), we evaluated the impact of mental health conditions (0, 1, 2, and ≥3), as well as five individual conditions (anxiety, depressive, bipolar, schizophrenic, and traumatic/stress-related conditions) on readmission within 42 days, 1-7 days ("early"), and 8-42 days ("late") of hospitalization for birth. Results: In adjusted analyses, the rate of 42-day readmission was 2.2 times higher for individuals with ≥3 mental health conditions compared to those with none (3.38% vs. 1.56%; p < 0.001), 50% higher among individuals with 2 mental health conditions (2.33%; p < 0.001), and 40% higher among individuals with 1 mental health condition (2.17%; p < 0.001). We found increased adjusted risk of 42-day readmission for individuals with anxiety (1.98% vs. 1.59%; p < 0.001), bipolar (2.38% vs. 1.60%; p < 0.001), depressive (1.93% vs. 1.60%; p < 0.001), schizophrenic (4.00% vs. 1.61%; p < 0.001), and traumatic/stress-related conditions (2.21% vs. 1.61%; p < 0.001), relative to individuals without the respective condition. Mental health conditions had larger impacts on late (8-42 day) relative to early (1-7 day) readmission. Conclusions: This study found strong relationships between mental health conditions during the hospitalization for birth and readmission within 42 days. Efforts to reduce the high rates of adverse perinatal outcomes in the United States should continue to address the impact of mental health conditions during pregnancy and throughout the postpartum period.

Keywords: adverse maternal outcomes; comorbid mental health conditions; hospital readmission; severe maternal morbidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Patient Readmission*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States