• postpartum depression;
  • prevalence;
  • risk factors;
  • epidemiology;
  • reproduction

Objective:  The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of depression in postpartum women as compared with non-postpartum women, and to identify risk factors of depression in both groups.

Method:  A population based questionnaire study was performed among women 18–40 years in two municipalities in Norway in 1998–1999. A total of 2730 women were included, of whom 416 were in the postpartum period.

Results:  The prevalence of depression was higher in non-postpartum as compared with postpartum women. High scores on the life event scale, a history of depression and a poor relationship to the partner were associated with depression in both postpartum and non-postpartum women. When controlling for the identified risk factors of depression the odds-ratio for depression in the postpartum period was 1.6 (95% CI: 1.0–2.6).

Conclusion:  The risk for depression was increased in the postpartum period, when controlling for the uneven distribution of risk factors.