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Antenatal mental health problems are well recognised to impact negatively on a woman and her developing fetus, influencing both the pregnancy outcome and quality of life. There is limited information on prevalence and risk factors of antenatal depression in Singaporean women.
To examine the prevalence of depressive disorders in pregnant women attending Singapore's National University Hospital (NUH) and the association between these conditions and socio-demographic factors.
To improve our knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology of antenatal depressive disorders in Singapore.
Pregnant women attending NUH (2009 to 2010) were screened for depressive symptoms using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Patients who screened positive (scores > 13) were clinically assessed by trained clinicians using DSM IV criteria for diagnosis. The cases were then discussed with a core group of 3 psychiatrists to reduce interrater variability.
From 530 screened women, the overall prevalence of antenatal depressive symptoms was 47.8% (EPDS > 13). 12.5% of patients were diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, 52.1% with Adjustment Disorder, 4.5% with Anxiety Spectrum illness (Panic Disorder, GAD, OCD, PTSD), 1.1% with Bipolar Disorder and 3.8% with Other diagnoses.
After adjustment with socio-demographic variables, depressive symptoms were significantly associated with single, divorced or separated pregnant women (OR = 4.09, 95% CI = 1.39−12.09, p < 0.05) and those with three or more social relationship problems (OR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.00–2.84, p < 0.05).
Antenatal depressive symptoms are common in Singaporean women and they are associated with identifiable risk factors such as single status and limited social support.
Studies have shown that mental health problems during pregnancy have adverse effects on fetal growth. The impact of depressive and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy on the fetus have not yet been examined in Singapore.
To examine the association between mental health problems during the second trimester of pregnancy on the quality of the pregnancy, reflected by birth weight and birth length of the newborn.
This study aims to understand the importance of mental health during pregnancy on the development of the child in an Asian population.
Preliminary data of a prospective cohort study of pregnant women (GUSTO), were followed from pregnancy onwards. At 26 weeks of the pregnancy, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were administered. Data on birth parameters were collected from medical records.
Linear regression analyses of preliminary data show negative correlations between depressive symptoms measured with EPDS (n = 1025, P = 0.54), BDI (n = 1012, P = 0.001), and anxiety symptoms measured with STAI (n = 1023, P = 0.002) and birth length (corrected for gestational age and gender). No associations were found for birth weight.
There is an association between depressive and anxiety symptoms reported at the end of the second trimester of the pregnancy and birth length, but not birth weight, of the newborn. As it is known that fetal length increases mainly in the second trimester, it suggests that stress of the mother influences the development of the fetus during this trimester.
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