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Mental disorders in pregnancy and 5–8 years after delivery

  • P. H. C. Rondó (a1), R. F. Ferreira (a1), J. O. Lemos (a1) and J. A. Pereira-Freire (a2)



Even though mental disorders represent a major public health problem for women and respective children, there remains a lack of epidemiological longitudinal studies to assess the psychological status of women throughout pregnancy and later in life. This epidemiological cohort study assessed the relationship between mental disorders of 409 Brazilian women in pregnancy and 5–8 years after delivery.


The women were followed from 1997 to 2000 at 17 health services, and subsequently from 2004 to 2006 at their homes. Mental disorders were investigated by the Perceived Stress Scale-PSS, General Health Questionnaire-GHQ and State-Trait Anxiety Inventories-STAI. The relationship between scores of the PSS, GHQ and STAI 5–8 years after delivery and in pregnancy was assessed by multivariate linear regression analysis, controlling for the following confounders: maternal age, education, per capita income, family size, work, marital status and body mass index.


Scores of the PSS, GHQ and STAI 5–8 years after delivery were positively associated with scores of the PSS, GHQ and STAI in the three trimesters of pregnancy, and inversely associated with maternal age and per capita income (adj. R 2 varied from 0.15 to 0.37). PSS, GHQ and STAI scores in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy were positively associated with scores of the PSS, GHQ and STAI in the 1st and 2nd trimesters of pregnancy (adj. R 2 varied from 0.31 to 0.65).


The results of this study reinforce the urgency to integrate mental health screening into routine primary care for pregnant and postpartum women.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Professor P. H. C. Rondó, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Avenida Dr Arnaldo 715, São Paulo CEP: 01246-904, Brazil. (Email:


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