Perinatal Mood Disorder Fact Sheet Print E-mail

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Fact Sheet



  • Humboldt County is 7th in the State for “Maternal Depression” at the time of discharge with a rate of 21.9 women per 1000.  (Source: 2006-2008 Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Patient Discharge Data)  


  • 10-20% women will have depression in pregnancy.


  • 10% of fathers experience postpartum depression.  Adoptive parents can also experience postpartum depression.


  • If left untreated, 50% of prenatal mood disorders become postpartum mood disorders.


  • Depressed women are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors while pregnant, including substance abuse.  (NBGH, March 2005)


  • Pregnant women with depression are 3.4 times more likely to delivery preterm and 4 times more likely to deliver a low birth weight baby.  (NBGH, March 2005)


  • Postpartum depression is the most common complication associated with childbirth.  (Onunaku N. Improving Maternal and Infant Mental Health: Focus on Maternal Depression. National Center for Infant and Early Childhood Health Policy at UCLA, 2005.)


  • Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder can be misdiagnosed as postpartum psychosis but there has never been a documented case of a mother with postpartum OCD ever harming her baby.  (OCD occurs in 3-5% of new moms; postpartum psychosis occurs in 1-2 per thousand.)


  • Women with postpartum mood disorders are less likely to follow safety recommendations (like safe infant sleeping, use of car seats, water safety).


  • Children born to mothers with PPD are more likely to have difficulty with mother-infant bonding and are at increased risk for delayed or impaired cognitive emotional and linguistic development.  (Thurgood S, Avery DM and Williamson L. Postpartum Depression (PPD).American Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2009; 6(2): 17-22.)


  • Male children of mothers with PPD have been found to be more cognitively delayed than girls and display more outwardly violent behavior.  (Thurgood S, Avery DM and Williamson L. Postpartum Depression (PPD).American Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2009; 6(2): 17-22.)


  • Many mothers are reluctant to discuss depressive symptoms with their child’s pediatrician because of fear of judgement and being reported to child welfare services. (Heneghan AM, Mercer MB, DeLeone NL. Will Mothers Discuss Parenting Stress and Depressive Symptoms With Their Child’s Pediatrician? Pediatrics, 2004; 113; 460-67.)