Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 362-372

First online:

Prevalence and Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression Symptoms Among Women with Disabilities

  • Monika MitraAffiliated withCenter for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School Email author 
  • , Lisa I. IezzoniAffiliated withThe Mongan Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • , Jianying ZhangAffiliated withCenter for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • , Linda M. Long-BellilAffiliated withCenter for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • , Suzanne C. SmeltzerAffiliated withCenter for Nursing Research, Villanova University
  • , Bruce A. BartonAffiliated withQuantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School

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The adverse consequences of postpartum depression on the health of the mother and her child are well documented. However, there is little information on postpartum depression among mothers with disabilities. This study examines the patterns of depression and depressive symptoms before, during and after pregnancy and the association between depression before and during pregnancy and postpartum depression symptomatology (PPD) among women with and without disabilities. Data from the 2009–2011 Rhode Island Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) were analyzed in 2013. Almost 30 % (28.9 %; 95 % CI 22.8–35.8) of mothers with disabilities reported often or always feeling down, depressed or sad after childbirth compared to 10 % of those without disabilities (95 % CI 8.9–11.3). Compared to other women in the study, women with disabilities had a greater likelihood for PPD symptoms (RR 1.6, 95 % CI 1.1–2.2) after accounting for sociodemographics, maternal characteristics related to PPD, and depression before and during pregnancy. Adjusting for other covariates, self-reported prenatal diagnosis of depression was not associated with symptoms of PPD and depression during pregnancy was marginally associated with PPD symptomatology for women with disabilities. Women with disabilities are at a greater risk of experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression than other women. Screening for PPD among new mothers with disabilities and timely referral of those with PPD diagnosis are vital to the health of mothers with disabilities and their children.


Disability Postpartum depression Women with disabilities Pregnancy