Reproductive & Maternal Health Resource Center

Reproductive & Maternal Health Resource Center

Disclosures: Toscano reports no relevant disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
April 14, 2021
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1 in 3 women with obstetric complications report depression, anxiety

Disclosures: Toscano reports no relevant disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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Findings of a meta-analysis showed that one in three women who were hospitalized for obstetric complications during pregnancy had clinical levels of depression or anxiety.

“Maternal mental health conditions are one of the leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States,” Marika Toscano, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine fellow in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester, and colleagues wrote. “The incidence of suicidal ideation and intentional self-harm in pregnant or postpartum women has been increasing over the past 15 years and it has been estimated that suicide accounts for 5% to 6.5% of all maternal deaths.”

Estimated prevalence among women hospitalized for obstetric complications during pregnancy: Depression, 34%; Anxiety, 29%
Data derived from: Toscano M, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2021;doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000004335.

Toscano and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 39 cross-sectional, cohort, case-control, quasi-experimental and randomized controlled studies, 18 of which were further examined during a meta-analysis. The studies evaluated pregnant women with elevated depression or anxiety screening scale scores and those who had diagnostic interviews during an antepartum hospitalization, according to the researchers. They found no publication bias and wrote that there was “expected substantial clinical and methodologic heterogeneity between studies.”

The researchers reported that antenatal depression and anxiety symptoms were common. Among the study population, the estimated prevalence of depression was 34% (95% CI, 27-41) and the estimated prevalence of anxiety was 29% (95% CI, 16-43).

“The current study demonstrates the high prevalence of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders identified in women hospitalized in antepartum units for obstetric complications of pregnancy and highlights the need for future research regarding screening protocols and implementation strategies of interventions for this at-risk population,” Toscano and colleagues wrote. “Our results highlight the importance of education, support and interventions for women on antenatal units.”