To examine differences in prenatal depression among first-time mothers who had a subsequent pregnancy within 6 months of first birth and those who did not. Mothers with depression symptoms were expected to have a greater likelihood of rapid subsequent pregnancy.
The Parenting for the First Time study is a longitudinal multisite prospective descriptive study designed to identify and understand the dynamics of subthreshold neglectful parenting behaviors among first-time mothers. Data were collected from the prenatal period through the child's first 3 years of life. The Parenting for the First Time sample consisted of 684 first-time mothers between 15 and 36 years. Data were available on prenatal depression and subsequent pregnancy at 6 months for 279 participants (n = 279).
Multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the odds of subsequent pregnancy within 6 months of first birth.
Twelve mothers (5.9%) became pregnant within 6 months of first birth. The odds of subsequent pregnancy were 7.24 greater (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.18-24.04) among mothers with moderate-to-severe depression. White versus non-White race did not influence subsequent pregnancy (0.91, 95% CI: 0.18-4.49). Pregnancy was not significantly different between teen and adult mothers (odds ratio: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.24-3.68).
In this sample of first time mothers, moderate-to-severe depression symptoms were associated with subsequent pregnancy within 6 months of first birth. Routine depression screening by nurses during the prenatal period offers opportunities for intensive contraceptive counseling and may help mothers achieve optimal birth spacing.
Is there a relationship between maternal depression and a short interpregnancy interval?
Loral Patchen is the Director, Section of Midwifery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC. The author can be reached via e-mail at Loral.Patchen@medstar.net.
Robin Gaines Lanzi is an Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.