Pregnancy-Related Depression and Anxiety 101

Relevant research, Colorado-specific data, and basic information to orient yourself to the topic.


PREGNANCY-RELATED DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY IS THE MOST COMMON COMPLICATION OF PREGNANCY IMPACTING 1 IN 7 WOMEN*

 Postpartum Psychosis is rare, impacting 1-2 in 1,000 postpartum women.**

You will see estimates range from 1 in 4 to 1 in 12 women. Varying estimates exist due to variables such as:

  • Screening tools used
  • Cutoffs used
  • Timing of onset
  • Relationship between mother & screener

*Wisner et al. (2013). Onset Timing, Thoughts of Self-Harm, and Diagnoses in Postpartum Women With Screen-Positive Depression Findings, JAMA Psychiatry, 70: 490-498.

**Sit D, Rothschild A, Wisner K A (2006). A review of postpartum psychosis. J of Women's Health 2006(15)4.


When does it occur?

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Bottom line: women are at risk before, during, and after pregnancy.

Wisner et al. (2013). JAMA Psychiatry


types of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

A number of terms are used to reference the maternal mental health disorders experienced during and after pregnancy, including prenatal depression, perinatal depression, and postpartum depression. It is important to note that there is a range of separate and distinct disorders. For the purposes of this resource, the term "pregnancy-related depression and anxiety" is an umbrella term that refers to the mental health conditions that can impact individuals during or after pregnancy.

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Maternal mental health disorders are different than the "baby blues," which can occur up to 2 weeks postpartum and is marked by increased emotional sensitivity, weepiness, and/or feeling overwhelmed. The "baby blues" resolves without treatment within two weeks, is generally less severe, and is not considered a mental health disorder.


Who else is at risk?

Women with a pregnancy loss, adoptive parents, foster parents, and partners are at risk too.

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Postpartum depression is almost as common among new fathers as it is among new mothers.


PROTECTIVE, PREDICTIVE, AND CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

All women are at risk. However, research has found that certain protective and predictive factors may increase or decrease risk. Read more here.

Research is always evolving. Stay up to date with the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women's Mental Health website and blog, www.womensmentalhealth.org.


Colorado-specific Data

In 2014, 8.9% (95% CI: 7.1, 11.1) of Colorado women reported depressive symptoms after their new baby was born (Colorado PRAMS, 2014). 


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