Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression: A Retrospective Investigation at 4-Weeks Postnatal and a Review of the Literature

Sarah J. Breese McCoy, PhD; J. Martin Beal, DO; Stacia B. Miller Shipman, OMS IV; Mark E. Payton, PhD; and Gary H. Watson, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Published: April 1, 2006

J Osteopath Med; 106(4): 193-198

Objectives: To describe possible correlations between incidence of postpartum depression and the following patient characteristics: age, breastfeeding status, tobacco use, marital status, history of depression, and method of delivery.

Methods: Data gathered at routine 4-week postnatal visits were obtained from the patient records of 209 women who gave birth between June 1, 2001, and June 1, 2003, at three university medical clinics in Tulsa, Okla. Inclusion criteria required that the records of potential study subjects contain data on the characteristics noted as well as patient-completed Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale forms.

Results: Formula feeding in place of breastfeeding, a history of depression, and cigarette smoking were all significant risk factors for an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score of 13 or higher, indicating probable postpartum depression.

Conclusions: The authors’ findings corroborate the results of previous investigators. To facilitate prophylactic patient education and intervention strategies, a larger study is recommended to determine risk factors for postpartum depression.

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