Very low birth-weight as a risk factor for postpartum depression four to six weeks postbirth in mothers and fathers: Cross-sectional results from a controlled multicentre cohort study

Nadine Helle, Claus Barkmann, Jutta Bartz-Seel, Thilo Diehl, Stephan Ehrhardt, Astrid Hendel, Yvonne Nestoriuc, Michael Schulte-Markwort, Axel Von Der Wense, Carola Bindt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Preterm birth and survival rates of very low birth-weight (VLBW: <1.500 g) infants have increased. Although new parents are frequently affected by depressive symptoms, little is known about prevalence, risk, and predictors of parental postpartum depression (PPD) following VLBW birth. Furthermore, most studies assessing PPD in parents of preterm children relied on self-report only. Methods As part of the HaFEn cohort-study, data from the index groups of parents with VLBW infants and the control group of parents with term infants were cross-sectionally analysed. Families were recruited at the three largest centres of perinatal medical care in Hamburg, Germany. PPD was evaluated one month postpartum using standardized questionnaires and clinical interviews. Socioeconomic status, social support, risks during pregnancy, and psychiatric lifetime diagnoses were also assessed. A multiple random coefficient model was used to examine predictors of PPD in both parents simultaneously. Results 230 mothers and 173 fathers were included. Depending on the measure, the risk of being postnatally depressed was 4 to 18 times higher in mothers and 3 to 9 times higher in fathers from the index group. The most relevant risk factor for PPD was the birth of a VLBW infant, followed by female sex, lifetime psychiatric disorder, and low social support. Limitations Results presented here, are based on cross sectional data. Therefore no temporal relationships can be established. Conclusions Our findings highlight the importance of early screening for PPD in both parents of VLBW infants. Factors contributing to developing depression should also be considered in neonatal care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-161
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume180
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2015

Keywords

  • Maternal/paternal
  • Postpartum depression
  • Preterm birth
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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