, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 489-498
Date: 03 Jul 2013

Influence of health information levels on postpartum depression

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While extensive research has been conducted on postpartum depression (PPD), the majority has been focused on psychological risk factors and treatments. There is limited research on the explicit relationship between the degree to which individuals are informed about relevant prenatal and postnatal health topics and whether this level of knowledge influences psychological outcome. This study assesses health information levels of new mothers and their influence on PPD as measured by Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) scores. Data from the 2006 Maternity Experiences Survey developed by the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System (N = 6,421) were used. The study population included mothers ≥15 years of age at the time of the birth, who had a singleton live birth in Canada during a 3-month period preceding the 2006 Census and who lived with their infants at the time of the survey. Pre- and postnatal health information components were measured using latent variables constructed by structural equation modeling. EPDS score was added to the model, adjusting for known covariates to assess the effects of information levels on EPDS score. Pre- and postnatal health information levels are associated with decreased EPDS scores. More specifically, information on topics such as postnatal concerns and negative feelings was associated with the largest decrease in score for primiparous and multiparous women, respectively (p < 0.0001 for both). The pre-established predictors of PPD were confirmed for both samples, with life stress associated with the largest change in EPDS score for both samples (p < 0.0001 for both). This study demonstrates a distinct role for pre- and postnatal health information in influencing EPDS scores, supplementing previous literature. Primiparous and multiparous women benefited from different information content, with information on postnatal concerns had the largest effect on the primiparous group while information on negative feelings had the largest effect on the multiparous group. Therefore, information provision should be tailored to these two groups.