Identifying the women at risk of antenatal anxiety and depression
New study confirms: screening should be universal practice.
This review, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, identified fifty-seven studies published between January 1980 and March 2008 in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
A previous systematic review, Lancaster et al. (2010), focused on the identification of risk factors for antenatal depression that could be assessed during routine obstetric care.
Similarly to Lancaster at al. (2010), the recent review found that life-time adversities, history of depression, lack of support, domestic violence, unintended pregnancy, low education, low income and poor relationship with partner are associated with antenatal depression and anxiety, and no or inconsistent evidence was found for alcohol, substance abuse, age and employment. Contrary to Lancaster et al., obstetric history was observed to be a strong predictor of depression and anxiety during pregnancy.
The administration of a screening tool to identify women at risk of anxiety and depression during pregnancy should be universal practice in order to promote the long-term wellbeing of mothers and babies, and the knowledge of specific risk factors may help creating such screening tool targeting women at higher risk.
Read the full study here