Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 475–482 | Cite as

Elevated risk of adverse obstetric outcomes in pregnant women with depression

  • Deborah R. KimEmail author
  • Laura E. Sockol
  • Mary D. Sammel
  • Caroline Kelly
  • Marian Moseley
  • C. Neill Epperson
Original Article


In this study, we evaluated the association between prenatal depression symptoms adverse birth outcomes in African–American women. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 261 pregnant African–American women who were screened with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at their initial prenatal visit. Medical records were reviewed to assess pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, specifically preeclampsia, preterm birth, intrauterine growth retardation, and low birth weight. Using multivariable logistic regression models, an EPDS score ≥10 was associated with increased risk for preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight. An EPDS score ≥10 was associated with increased risk for intrauterine growth retardation, but after controlling for behavioral risk factors, this association was no longer significant. Patients who screen positive for depression symptoms during pregnancy are at increased risk for multiple adverse birth outcomes. In a positive, patient-rated depression screening at the initial obstetrics visit, depression is associated with increased risk for multiple adverse birth outcomes. Given the retrospective study design and small sample size, these findings should be confirmed in a prospective cohort study.


Depression Pregnancy IUGR Low birth weight Preeclampsia Pregnancy Preterm birth 



The authors would like to thank Lisa Lamprou (CRC) and Claudia Schinstine (CRC) for their contribution to data collection


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah R. Kim
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Laura E. Sockol
    • 1
  • Mary D. Sammel
    • 3
  • Caroline Kelly
    • 4
  • Marian Moseley
    • 4
  • C. Neill Epperson
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral WellnessPerelman School of Medicine of the University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaUSA
  2. 2.Penn Center for the Study of Sex and Gender in Behavioral HealthPerelman School of Medicine of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyPerelman School of Medicine of the University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology; Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness, and Penn Center for the Study of Sex and Gender in Behavioral HealthPerelman School of Medicine of the University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaUSA

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