1 in 7 New Mothers Identified as Depressed Before, During and After Pregnancy

In the first study to take a comprehensive look at depression symptoms from 39 weeks before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and 39 weeks after childbirth, investigators, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found as high a prevalence of depression before and during pregnancy as there was after giving birth. There was a fair amount of depression at all three points.
The study found that about 1 in 7 women had been identified with depression during the study period. Of the women diagnosed with postpartum depression, 54.2% were also identified as being depressed either before or during pregnancy. The fact the depression is similar between those three time points reinforces the fact that depression is something that happens relatively commonly in reproduction aged woman and can be exacerbated during pregnancy. Women need to work carefully with an informed clinician and have a discussion about the risks and benefits of whatever treatment seems appropriate for the severity of their depression.
Am J Psychiatry, 2007;164

Although postpartum depression is clearly an

important concern, we also need to consider the

mental health and treatment needs of the many women

who are depressed right before or during their

pregnancies. Rapid treatment can benefit the new

mom, her baby, and the entire family.


"I do know that I’m responsible

not for what happens but what I

make of it."

Sidney Poittier