Prevalence of Postpartum Depression; a longitudinal study

Document Type: Original Article


1 Neonatal Research Center, Imam Reza Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Pediatric department, Imam Reza Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background: Mothers are highly vulnerable to depression within the first year after childbirth. Approximately 10-20% of mothers suffer from depression during this period, and half of these women with symptoms of prominent postpartum depression (PPD) remain undiagnosed. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is the most widely applied screening instrument for PPD evaluation. In this study, we evaluated EPDS scores (score ≥12) at discharge and 2, 28 and 42 days following delivery to determine the risk factors and prevalence of PPD in mothers of infants admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Methods: A sample of 682 women completed the EPDS scale upon admission and hospital discharge. PPD assessment was performed at days 28 and 42 following delivery via phone interviews.
Results: Upon admission, the average EPDS score was 9.72 (SD=4.4) and 27.4% of women (n=187) had EPDS scores ≥ 12. At discharge and 28 and 42 days following delivery, the average scores were normal as follows: 9.34 (SD=3.8), 9.12 (SD=3.7) and 8.52 (SD=3.36), respectively. Within the mentioned intervals, 25.4% (n=173), 23.3% (n=141) and 15.3% (n=88) of women presented with PPD. A positive correlation was shown between EPDS scores on admission and D42 (P = 0.001) that all PPD cases at D42 had EPDS score ≥ 12 on admission The analysis showed that multiple gestation (P=0.001) and advanced age (P=0.001) were significantly associated with PPD.
Conclusion: As the results indicated, women with EPDS scores ≥ 12 should benefit from close follow-ups during the postpartum period and be provided with psychological support.


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