Skip to main content Accessibility help

Prevalence and risk factors of postnatal depression among women attending antenatal courses

  • Daniele Piacentini (a1), Daniela Leveni (a1), Giuseppe Primerano (a1), Marina Cattaneo (a1), Loredana Volpi (a1), Giuseppe Biffi (a1) and Fiorino Mirabella (a2)...


Aims – Postnatal depression, the most frequent complication occurring after pregnancy, is often not recognized. The prevalence of postnatal depression is currently considered to be 10–15% in western countries. A wide range of risk factors related to postnatal depression were researched in international studies. Our aim was to evaluate the risk factors and their frequency in a women population of Bergamo Province and compare the results with findings of international literature. Methods – 595 women taking part to antenatal courses in three hospitals in Bergamo Province were screened for Postnatal Depression using EPDS and clinical interview. Prevalence and possible psychosocial risk factors data were collected and subsequently analysed and compared with literature findings. Results – Thirty six (7.1%) women of our sample had postnatal depression. Depressed mood and depression during pregnancy, anxiety during pregnancy, poor social support, recent life events, a history of depression or other psychiatric history, presence of maternity blues were the strongest predictors of postnatal depression in our sample. Conclusions – The Psychosocial risk factors emerged from our study are substantially the same indicated by international studies, on the contrary prevalence is a little lower. This result may be explained considering that our women sample wasn't completely representative of general population.

Declaration of Interest: Results of this study are part of a project, “Identification and early treatment of post partum depression”, approved and financially supported by Regione Lombardia. This study didn't receive grants or support from drug companies. There are no conflicts of interest.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr. D. Piacentini, Ambulatorio Psico Sociale, Viale Martiri della Libertà 6, 24019 Zogno (Bergamo). Fax: +39-0345-52030 E-mail:


Hide All
Agostini, F., Monti, F., Marano, G. & Lupi, F. (2005). L’Edimburgh postnatal depression scale a 3, 9, 18 mesi dopo il parto. Psychofenia: Ricerca e Analisi Psicologica 1, 6378.
Beck, C.T. (1996). A meta-analysis of predictors of postpartum depression. Nursing Research 45, 297303.
Bloch, M., Rotemberg, N., Koren, D. & Klein, E. (2005). Risk factors for early post partum depressive symptoms. General Hospital Psychiatry 28, 38.
Buist, A., Speelman, C., Hayes, B., Reay, R, Milgrom, J., Meyer, D. & Condon, J. (2007). Impact of education on women with perinatal depression. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology 28, 4954.
Buist, A.E., Austin, M.P., Hayes, B.A., Speelman, C., Bilszta, J.L., Gemmill, A.W., Brooks, J., Ellwood, D. & Milgrom, J. (2008). Postnatal mental health of women giving birth in Australia 2002–2004: findings from the beyondblue National Postnatal Depression Program. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 42, 6673.
Carpiniello, B., Parlante, C.M., Serri, F., Costa, G. & Carta, M.G. (1997) Validation of the Edimburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in Italy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology 18, 280285.
Chabrol, H., Coroner, N., Rusibane, S. & Séjourné, N. (2007). A pilot study of prevention of postpartum blues. Gynècologie Obstètrique & Fertilitè 35, 12421244.
Clinical Evidence, Sesta edizione italiana (2008). Retrieved January 26, 2008, from
Dennis, C.L. (2004). Influence of depressive symptomatology on maternal health service utilization and general health. Archives of Women’s Mental Health 7, 183191.
Evans, J., Heron, J. & Francomb, H. (2001). Cohort study of depressed mood during pregnancy and after childbirth. British Medical Journal 323, 257260.
Gavin, N.I., Gaynes, B.N. & Lohr, K.N. (2005). Perinatal depression: a systematic review of prevalence and incidence. Obstetrics and Gynecology 106, 10711083.
Halbreich, U. & Karkun, S. (2006). Cross-cultural and social diversity of prevalence of postpartum depression and depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders 91, 97111.
Kroenke, K. & Spitzer, R. (2002). The PHQ-9: a new depression diagnostic and severity measure. Psychiatrics Annals 32, 509515.
Lane, A., Morris, K.M., Turner, K.M. & Barry, S. (1997). Postnatal depression and elation among mothers and their partners: Prevalence and predictors. British Journal of Psychiatry 171, 550555.
Leigh, B. & Milgrom, J. (2008). Risk factors for antenatal depression, postnatal depression and parenting stress. BMC Psychiatry 16, 824.
Matthey, S., Henshaw, C., Elliott, S. & Barnett, B. (2006). Variability in use of cut-off scores and formats on the Edimburgh Postnatal Depression Scale: implications for clinical and research practice. Archives Womens Mental Health 9, 309315.
Milgrom, J., Eriksen, J., Negri, L. & Gemmill, A.W. (2005). Screening for post natal depression in routine primary care: properties of the Edimburgh Depression Scale in an australian sample. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 39, 833839.
Milgrom, J., Gemmil, A.W., Bilszta, J.L., Hayes, B., Barnett, B., Brooks, J., Ericksen, J., Ellwood, D. & Buist, A. (2008). Antenatal risk factors for postnatal depression: a large prospective study. Journal of Affective Disorders 108, 147157.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. (2007). Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health. The Nice Guideline on Clinical Management and Service Guidance. Retrieved January 26, 2009, from
O’Hara, M.W. & Swain, A.M. (1996). Rates and risk of postpartum depression: a meta analysis. International Review of Psychiatry 8, 3754.
Ramsay, R. (1993). Postnatal depression. Lancet 341, 1358.
Robertson, E., Grace, S. & Wallington, T. (2004). Antenatal risk factors for post partum depression: a synthesis of recent literature. General Hospital Psychiatry 26, 289295.
Sheehan, D.V., Lecrubier, Y., Harnett, Sheehan K., Janavs, J., Weiller, E., Bonora, L.I., Keskiner, A., Schinka, J., Knapp, E., Sheehan, M.F. & Dunbar, G.C. (1997). Reliability and validity of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) according to the SCID. European Psychiatry 12, 232241.
Vesga, Lopez O., Blanco, C., Keyes, K., Olfson, M., Grant, B.F. & Hasin, D.S. (2008). Psychiatric disorders in pregnant and postpartum women in the United States. Archives of General Psychiatry 65, 805815.


Prevalence and risk factors of postnatal depression among women attending antenatal courses

  • Daniele Piacentini (a1), Daniela Leveni (a1), Giuseppe Primerano (a1), Marina Cattaneo (a1), Loredana Volpi (a1), Giuseppe Biffi (a1) and Fiorino Mirabella (a2)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed