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 Authors and Disclosures


Peter Yellowlees, MBBS, MD

Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Health Informatics, University of California Davis, Sacramento, California

Disclosure: Peter Yellowlees, MBBS, MD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

From Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health > Medscape Psychiatry Minute

Birth Risks of Antenatal Depression

Peter Yellowlees, MBBS, MD

Posted: 04/01/2011


This is the Medscape Psychiatry Minute. I’m Dr. Peter Yellowlees. Maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy have been reported in some but not all studies to be associated with an increased risk for preterm birth, low birth weight [LBW], and intrauterine growth restriction. Now 6 investigators[1] from the University of Washington, Seattle, have undertaken a meta-analysis of 29 published US and international studies, selected from 862 reviewed studies, to estimate the risk for these 3 events being associated with antenatal depression. The investigators found that the risk for low birth weight associated with antenatal depression was significantly [greater] in developing countries compared with the United States or European social democracies. Antenatal depression also tended to be associated with an increased risk for preterm birth in women of lower socioeconomic status in the United States. The [authors] concluded that it does appear that women with depression during pregnancy are at increased risk for preterm birth and low birth weight, and [they] made the sensible recommendation that antenatal depression should be identified through universal screening and [should be] treated. This article is selected from Medscape Best Evidence. I’m Dr. Peter Yellowlees.



1.       Grote NK, Bridge JA, Gavin AR, Mellville JL, Iyengar S, Katon WJ. A meta-analysis of depression during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and intrauterine growth restriction. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67:1012-1024. Abstract

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