Depressive Disorders Prevalent in Pregnant Women

Psychosocial stress, chronic medical conditions among identifiable risk factors

TUESDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 10 percent of pregnant women may suffer from depressive disorders, and these disorders are significantly associated with identifiable, clinically relevant risk factors, according to research published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Jennifer L. Melville, M.D., of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues evaluated psychiatric data for 1,888 women receiving prenatal care to evaluate the prevalence of depression and other disorders in this population and to identify associated factors.

The researchers found that 9.9 percent of the women suffered antenatal depressive disorders; 5.1 percent met criteria for probable major depression and 4.8 percent met criteria for probable minor depression. Panic disorder and suicidal ideation were present in 3.2 and 2.6 percent, respectively. Psychosocial stress, domestic violence, chronic medical conditions, and being of Asian or African-American race were each associated significantly with increased odds for probable antepartum major depressive disorder. The odds decreased with increasing age.

"Antenatal major and minor depressive disorders are common and significantly associated with clinically relevant and identifiable risk factors. By understanding the high point prevalence and associated factors, clinicians can potentially improve the diagnosis and treatment rates of serious depressive disorders in pregnant women," the authors write.

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