The association of unplanned pregnancy with perinatal depression: A longitudinal cohort study

L. Muskens*, M.G.B.M. Boekhorst, W.J. Kop, M.I. van den Heuvel, V.J.M. Pop, A. Beerthuizen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Perinatal depression is common, affecting approximately 7–13% of women. Studies have shown an association between unplanned pregnancy and perinatal depressive symptoms, but many used a cross-sectional design and limited postnatal follow-up. The current study investigated the association of unplanned pregnancy with perinatal depressive symptoms using a longitudinal cohort study that followed women from the first trimester until 12 months postpartum. Pregnant women (N = 1928) provided demographic and clinical data and information about pregnancy intention at the first trimester. Depressive symptoms were assessed during each trimester of pregnancy and five times postpartum using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) until 12 months postpartum. Mixed model analyses were used to investigate the association between an unplanned pregnancy and the level of depressive symptoms. Women with an unplanned pregnancy (N = 111, 5.8%) reported persistently higher levels of depressive symptoms during the entire perinatal period compared to women with a planned pregnancy, after adjustment for confounders (p < 0.001). However, the course of depressive symptom scores over time in women with an unplanned pregnancy was similar to that of women with a planned pregnancy. Lower age (p = 0.006), unemployment (p = 0.004), and history of depression (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with higher levels of perinatal depressive symptoms. An unplanned pregnancy may have a long-lasting negative impact on a woman’s perinatal mental health. Therefore, women with an unplanned pregnancy may benefit from systematic follow-up during the perinatal period with contingent mental health support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-620
JournalArchives of Womens Mental Health
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • ANXIETY
  • Depression
  • Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale
  • Longitudinal
  • MENTAL-HEALTH
  • Mixed models
  • POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
  • POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
  • PREVALENCE
  • Perinatal
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • SECONDARY DATA-ANALYSIS
  • SYMPTOMS
  • TRAJECTORIES
  • UNINTENDED PREGNANCY
  • Unplanned pregnancy

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