Prediction of postpartum depression by sociodemographic, obstetric and psychological factors: A prospective study


*Yong-Ku Kim, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine, Ansan Hospital, Ansan City, Gojan Dong, 516, Kyunggi Province 425-020, Korea. Email:


Aim:  Many studies have documented serious effects of postpartum depression. This prospective study sought to determine predictive factors for postpartum depression.

Methods:  Pregnant women (n = 239) were enrolled before 24 weeks in their pregnancy. At 6 weeks postpartum, 30 women who had postpartum depression and 30 non-depressed mothers were selected. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) Marital Satisfaction Scale (MSS), and the Childcare Stress Inventory (CSI) were administered to all 60 mothers at 24 weeks pregnancy, 1 week postpartum, and 6 weeks postpartum.

Results:  The differences in most of the diverse sociodemographic and obstetric factors assessed were not statistically significant. There were significant differences in MSS scores at 24 weeks pregnancy (P = 0.003), and EPDS (P < 0.001; P = 0.002), BDI (P = 0.001; P = 0.031), and BAI (P < 0.001; P < 0.001) at both 24 weeks pregnant and 1 week postpartum, while there was no significant difference in the RSES scores at 24 weeks pregnant (P = 0.065). A logistic regression analysis was performed on the following factors: ‘depressive symptoms immediately after delivery’ (EPDS and BDI at 1 week postpartum), ‘anxiety’ (BAI prepartum), ‘stress factors from relationships’ (MSS prepartum and CSI at 1 week postpartum) or ‘self-esteem’ (RSES prepartum). When these four factors were added individually to a model of the prepartum depressive symptoms (EPDS and BDI prepartum), no additional effect was found.

Conclusions:  The optimum psychological predictor is prepartum depression, and other psychological measures appear to bring no significant additional predictive power.