Identifying women at-risk for postpartum depression in the immediate postpartum period


Doctor Cindy-Lee Dennis, University of Toronto, Faculty of Nursing, 50 St George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H4 Canada


Objective:  To develop a multifactorial predictive model of depressive symptomatology in the first week postpartum in order to assist in targeted screening procedures.

Method:  As part of a longitudinal study, a population-based sample of 594 mothers in a health region near Vancouver, British Columbia completed a mailed questionnaire at 1-week postpartum that included diverse risk factors from the following domains: sociodemographic, biological, pregnancy-related, life stressors, social support, obstetric and adjustment to motherhood. Following univariate analysis, sequential regression analysis was completed to develop a multifactorial predictive model.

Results:  In the multivariate model, the factors predictive of depressive symptomatology at 1-week postpartum included immigration within the last 5 years, history of depression independent of childbirth, diagnosis of pregnancy-induced hypertension, vulnerable personality style, stressful life events, lack of perceived support, lack of readiness for hospital discharge and dissatisfaction with infant feeding method.

Conclusion:  The findings suggest that several risk factors for depressive symptomatology in the immediate postpartum period are consistent with previously identified factors but other factors such as recent immigrant status, feeling unready for hospital discharge, dissatisfaction with their infant feeding method, and pregnancy-induced hypertension should also be examined.