Promoting women's health during the interconception period is critical for the health of future pregnancies.
This was a cross-sectional study to better understand interconception mental health and wellbeing using a convenience sample of women recruited on social media who completed an online survey.
Women who participated in the survey (N = 146) were 1 to 4 years since last pregnancy, primarily non-Hispanic White (81.2%), with an average age of 30 years (SD = 5.0; range = 19-47 years); 20% were insured by Medicaid. Depression, anxiety, stress, social support, mindfulness, and resilience were assessed. Approximately 22.9% reported depressive symptomatology, 18.8% symptoms of anxiety, 6.5% high stress, and 52.9% moderate stress. These patterns differed across years after giving birth, with percentages peaking for depressive symptoms during the first to second year (χ2 = 9.81, p = 0.007), and anxiety symptoms peaking after the third year (χ2 = 7.28, p = 0.026). Women reported moderate scores on wellbeing measures, with resilience scores decreasing as years since last pregnancy increased (F = 3.24, p = 0.042). Less than 25% reported that a provider discussed depressed mood during the interconception period.
Our findings revealed high prevalence and temporal patterns of depressive and anxiety symptoms during the interconception period, identifying a need for nurses to continue to follow-up with their patients about mental health concerns well after the traditionally defined 1 year postpartum. Further investigation of women's mental health and wellbeing and their unique needs during the interconception period is warranted.