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Contraception, Depression, Interpregnancy interval, Pregnancy.



  1. Patchen, Loral MSN, CNM
  2. Lanzi, Robin Gaines PhD, MPH


Purpose: To examine differences in prenatal depression among first-time mothers who had a subsequent pregnancy within 6 months of first birth and those who did not. Mothers with depression symptoms were expected to have a greater likelihood of rapid subsequent pregnancy.


Study Design: The Parenting for the First Time study is a longitudinal multisite prospective descriptive study designed to identify and understand the dynamics of subthreshold neglectful parenting behaviors among first-time mothers. Data were collected from the prenatal period through the child's first 3 years of life. The Parenting for the First Time sample consisted of 684 first-time mothers between 15 and 36 years. Data were available on prenatal depression and subsequent pregnancy at 6 months for 279 participants (n = 279).


Methods: Multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the odds of subsequent pregnancy within 6 months of first birth.


Results: Twelve mothers (5.9%) became pregnant within 6 months of first birth. The odds of subsequent pregnancy were 7.24 greater (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.18-24.04) among mothers with moderate-to-severe depression. White versus non-White race did not influence subsequent pregnancy (0.91, 95% CI: 0.18-4.49). Pregnancy was not significantly different between teen and adult mothers (odds ratio: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.24-3.68).


Clinical Implications: In this sample of first time mothers, moderate-to-severe depression symptoms were associated with subsequent pregnancy within 6 months of first birth. Routine depression screening by nurses during the prenatal period offers opportunities for intensive contraceptive counseling and may help mothers achieve optimal birth spacing.