Women with unintended pregnancy are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression

May 7, 2013

Women with unintended pregnancy are four times more likely to suffer from postpartum depression at twelve months postpartum, suggests a new study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The study, conducted at the University of North Carolina prenatal clinics questioned participants about pregnancy intention at 15-19 weeks , and women were classified as having an intended, mistimed or unwanted pregnancy. There were 433 women (64%) with an intended pregnancy, 207 (30%) with a mistimed pregnancy and 40 (6%) with an . Unintended pregnancy was defined as both mistimed and unwanted pregnancies. Data were analysed for 688 women at three months and 550 women at twelve months.

Results show that postpartum depression was more likely in women with unintended pregnancies at both three months (11% vs. 5%) and twelve months (12% vs. 3%). The increased risk was highest at 12 months and indicates that this group of women have a long term risk of depression. When age, and poverty status were factored into the results, women with unintended pregnancy were still twice as likely to have postpartum depression at twelve months.

The authors conclude that unintended pregnancy may have a long term effect on maternal and clinicians could consider pregnancy intention at antenatal visits and offer appropriate support both during and following the pregnancy.

Dr Rebecca Mercier, from the Department of , University of North Carolina and co-author of the research said:

"While many elements may contribute to postpartum depression, the results of this study show that unintended pregnancy resulting in could also be a contributing factor.

"Unintended pregnancy carried to term may have a long term effect on women. should therefore consider asking about pregnancy at early antepartum visits to screen for unintended pregnancy as women who report that their pregnancy was unintended or unwanted may benefit from earlier or more targeted screening both during and following pregnancy.

"Simple, low-cost screening interventions to identify women at risk could allow targeted intervention when appropriate and could potentially prevent complications from future unintended pregnancies."

Mike Marsh, BJOG Deputy Editor-in-chief said:

"Unintended pregnancy has been linked to poor prenatal care, high risk pregnancy behaviours, increased rates of preterm birth and low birth rate, poor social outcomes in childhood and increased medical costs.

"However, the relationship between unintended pregnancy and poor neonatal outcomes has been studied extensively, but less is known about the effect of unintended pregnancy carried to term on the woman herself. The findings of this study focus on the effects of unintended pregnancy on the mother and we can see a relationship between and postpartum depression."

Explore further: Future reproductive outcomes for women who have had an ectopic pregnancy

More information: Mercier JR, Garret J, Thorp J. Pregnancy intention and postpartum depression: secondary data analysis from a prospective cohort. BJOG 2013; dx.doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.12255

Related Stories

Future reproductive outcomes for women who have had an ectopic pregnancy

June 20, 2012
Women who experience an initial ectopic pregnancy—when the embryo implants outside the womb, usually in the fallopian tubes—are less likely to conceive in the future and if they do, are at increased risk of having ...

Study: Breastfeeding does not protect against MS relapses

July 6, 2011
New research finds breastfeeding doesn't appear to protect against multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses, despite previous studies suggesting there may be a protective role. The research is published in the July 6, 2011, online ...

Depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence in the 12 months after childbirth

December 7, 2011
Forty percent of women who report depressive symptoms following birth also reported intimate partner violence finds a new study published today (7 December) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Recommended for you

Women exposed to smoke while in womb more likely to miscarry

July 13, 2017
Women exposed to cigarette smoke while in their mothers' wombs are more likely to experience miscarriage as adults, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.

Lack of a hormone in pregnant mice linked to preeclampsia

June 30, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from Singapore, the Netherlands and Turkey has isolated a hormone in pregnant mice that appears to be associated with preeclampsia—a pregnancy-related condition characterized by ...

Aspirin reduces risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

June 28, 2017
Taking a low-dose aspirin before bed can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, which can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and foetal death.

The biology of uterine fluid: How it informs the fetus of mom's world

June 22, 2017
A developing fetus bathes in a mixture of cellular secretions and proteins unique to its mother's uterus. Before fertilization, the pH of uterine fluid helps create a conducive environment for sperm migration, and afterward, ...

New clues in puzzle over pre-eclampsia and cholesterol regulation

June 21, 2017
Scientists studying a mystery link between the dangerous pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia and an increased risk of heart disease in later life for both mother and child have uncovered important new clues.

Are maternal hormones different when carrying a boy or a girl?

June 15, 2017
With advances in prenatal testing it's now possible to find out whether a pregnancy will result in a male or female baby as early as eight weeks' gestation.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.