Depression and anxiety occur frequently postpartum, calling for early detection and treatment. Evidence on risk factors may support early detection, but is inconclusive. Our aim was to identify risk factors for postpartum depression and anxiety, before, during and after pregnancy.
We used data from 1406 mothers of the intervention arm of the Post-Up study. Risk factors were collected at 3 weeks and 12 months postpartum. Depression and anxiety symptoms were measured in the first month postpartum by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and 6-item State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-6), respectively. We used stepwise logistic regression to identify relevant risk factors.
Of the mothers, 8.0% had EPDS-scores ≥9 and 14.7% STAI-6-scores ≥42. Factors associated with higher risk of depression were: foreign language spoken at home, history of depression, low maternal self-efficacy and poor current health of the mother. No initiation of breastfeeding was associated with lower risk of depression, no breastfeeding at 3 weeks postpartum increased the risk. Factors associated with higher risk of anxiety were: higher educational level, history of depression, preterm birth, negative experience of delivery and first week postpartum, excessive infant crying, low maternal self-efficacy, low partner support and poor current maternal health.
Use of a self-report instrument, potential bias by postpartum mood status, and no inclusion of emerging depression cases after one month postpartum.
The shared and separate risk factors for postpartum depression and anxiety may help professionals in identifying mothers at increased risk and provide opportunities for preventive interventions and treatment.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.