Postpartum depressive symptoms decreased from 2004 to 2012, but remain prevalent among women in the U.S., according to CDC data.
“Postpartum depression is common and associated with adverse infant and maternal outcomes (eg, lower breastfeeding initiation and duration and poor maternal and infant bonding). A developmental Healthy People 2020 objective is to decrease the proportion of women delivering a live birth who experience postpartum depressive symptoms,” Jean Y. Ko, PhD, of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and colleagues wrote.
To establish a baseline for this objective, researchers analyzed data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) for 2004, 2008 and 2012. The sample for 2012 represented 1,610,767 women from 27 states and 41% of U.S. births.
Self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms decreased from 15.5% in 2004 to 13.6% in 2008 and 11.5% in 2012 (P < .01).
This indicated an estimated annual percentage-point change of –0.6% from 2004 to 2012.
Postpartum depressive symptoms prevalence was highest among women who were aged younger than 19 years and 20 to 24 years, were American Indian/Alaska Natives or Asian/Pacific Islanders, had less than 12 years of education, were unmarried, were postpartum smokers, had three or more stressful experiences in the year before birth, had low-birthweight infants, and had infants requiring NICU admission at birth.
From 2004 to 2012, postpartum depressive symptom prevalence did not significantly decrease among American Indian/Alaska Native women and women with term, low-birthweight infants, with a prevalence greater than 17% in 2012.
“Despite the observed decline in prevalence, approximately one in nine women experience [postpartum depressive symptoms], with higher prevalence in certain states and subgroups of women,” the researchers wrote. “Ongoing surveillance and activities to promote appropriate screening, referral, and treatment are needed to reduce [postpartum depressive symptoms] among U.S. women. In addition, more research is needed to understand the etiology of postpartum depression.” – by Amanda Oldt
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.