Depressive symptoms in early pregnancy, two months and one year postpartum-prevalence and psychosocial risk factors in a national Swedish sample

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Depression and other psychiatric disorders during pregnancy and postpartum is an important health problem, especially if the symptoms are recurrent or sustained. Methods: All Swedish speaking women attending their first antenatal care visit during three predestined weeks were invited to participate. Depressive symptoms were evaluated using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) in early pregnancy, two months and one year postpartum. Results: In all, 2430 women completed three questionnaires. A dose-effect relation was found between the numbers of stressful life events experienced in the year prior to pregnancy and mean EPDS score in pregnancy. The prevalence of recurrent or sustained depressive symptoms (EPDS ≥ 12 on all three evaluations) was 3% (79/2430). Three factors were associated with depressive symptoms, two or more stressful life events in the year prior to pregnancy, native language other than Swedish and unemployment. Conclusions: Apart from questions about psychiatric history, a psychosocial history in early pregnancy including stressful life events, native language and employment status could help the health professionals to identify women at risk for recurrent or sustained depression during pregnancy and the year after giving birth.


External organisations
  • Mälardalen University
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Karolinska Institutet
Research areas and keywords


  • Depressive symptoms, EPDS, Postpartum depression, Risk factors, Stressful life events
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005 Jun
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes