Gestational Age, BMI, Ethnicity, and Season of Delivery Influence Postpartum Depression

Stressed Mother holding baby
Stressed Mother holding baby
Many factors may be associated with the development of postpartum depression such as gestational age, BMI, Apgar scores, mode of delivery, and exposure to anesthesia.

Younger gestational age, white or Hispanic ethnicity, higher body mass index (BMI), and giving birth during spring, summer, or fall increased the risk for postpartum depression, according to a recent study presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Jie Zhou, MD, of Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review of 20,198 women who delivered children at the Partners Healthcare System Hospitals from June 1, 2015, to March 27, 2017. 

The researchers collected data on demographics, diagnosis and procedures, anesthesia mode, delivery mode, gestational age, BMI of parturients, gender of neonate, Apgar score at 1 minute and 5 minutes, and ethnicity. Using logistic regression analysis, they looked for associations between these risk factors and postpartum depression.

Among the 20,198 women in the study, 563 (2.8%) cases of postpartum depression were identified. The investigators found a negative association between gestational age and postpartum depression (P =.028), but BMI was positively associated with postpartum depression (P =.012). African Americans and Asians had a lower risk than whites for the development of postpartum depression (P =.037 and P =.008, respectively), but the risk for Hispanics was similar to that of whites. 

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Anesthesia modes, neonate gender, Apgar scores, and delivery mode were not associated significantly with postpartum depression. However, delivery during the winter was found to be associated with a decreased risk of developing postpartum depression.


Zhou J, Mi T, Liang M. Factors play a role in the incidence of postpartum depression: a retrospective cohort study. Presentation at: 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists; October 21-25, 2017; Boston, MA. Abstract A2023.