Untreated Depression Common in Women of Childbearing Age

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sad girl looking out window
Many non-pregnant women of childbearing age are suffering from untreated depression.

HealthDay News — A substantial proportion of non-pregnant women of childbearing age have untreated depression, according to a study published online in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Nan Guo, PhD, from Stanford University in California, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2007 to 2014) to identify 3705 non-pregnant women of childbearing age. Depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire 9.

The researchers found that the overall prevalences of major and minor depression were 4.8% and 4.3%, respectively. 

Antidepressant use prevalence among women with major depression and minor depression were 32.4% and 20.0%, respectively. Major depression was most strongly associated with government insurance (adjusted relative risk [aRR], 2.49) and hypertension (aRR, 2.09). Factors associated with minor depression were education less than high school (aRR, 4.34) and high school education (aRR, 2.92).

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“Our analysis indicates that one in 20 nonpregnant women of childbearing age experience major depression,” the authors write. “Antidepressants are used by one-third of those with major depression and one-fifth of those with minor depression.”


Guo N, Robakis T, Miller C, Butwick A. Prevalence of depression among young women of reproductive age in the United States [published online March 8, 2018]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002535