The purpose of this study was to examine if depressive symptomatology in pregnancy
is associated with adverse obstetric and neonatal outcomes.
In a prospective observational study, 959 women were followed up longitudinally from early pregnancy
to postpartum. The level of depression
was measured at baseline (first antepartum visit) and in late pregnancy
using the Beck Depression
Inventory (BDI). Adverse obstetric and neonatal outcomes were recorded at delivery.
in late pregnancy
was associated with increased risk of epidural analgesia (33% vs. 19%, p
= .01, adjusted RR = 2.56, 95% CI 1.24–5.30), operative deliveries
(caesarean sections and instrumental vaginal deliveries) (39% vs. 27%, p
= .02, adjusted RR = 2.28, 95% CI 1.15–4.53), and admission to neonatal care unit (24% vs. 19%, p
= .03, adjusted RR = 2.18, 95% CI 1.02–4.66). These effects remained significant even when controlled for potential confounders, such as antepartum complications.
Previous studies have shown that antepartum anxiety or stress was associated with growth retardation, premature delivery, and epidural analgesia. Our findings add to this body of evidence, which together suggest an adverse impact of antepartum psychological morbidity on maternal and neonatal well-being.