Women with major depressive disorder (MDD) may have higher recurrent depression during the childbearing years, according to research results published in Depression and Anxiety.

Researchers culled 63 participants with MDD from previous observational studies completed during pregnancy. Follow-up occurred an average of 12.9 years after the index pregnancy; participants had a mean age of 47.8 years at follow-up. They also completed a structured interview that included the course of MDD since their index pregnancies.

At follow-up, 44.6% of participants reported depression for one-quarter of their lives and 10.8% reported depression for up to half their lives following the index pregnancy. They then reported on rates of depression in 4-year blocks over 16 years. Depression occurred in approximately 60%, 50%, 27%, and 42% of the participants during the respective 4-year blocks of time since the index pregnancy. The participants reported whether mental health issues had influenced their family planning—40.8% answered that it had not, 57.8% reported that it had, and 1.4% declined to answer.

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The researchers concluded that “Women with MDD experienced high rates of recurrent depression across the childbearing years.” Researchers stressed the need for monitoring and treatment in order to provide better outcomes for mothers and children.

Disclosures: Several authors declare affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please refer to original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Freeman MP, Claypoole LD, Burt VK, et al. Course of major depressive disorder after pregnancy and the postpartum period [published August 7, 2018]. Depress Anxiety. doi: 10.1002/da.22836