> Maternal Depression in SK

1.  Campaign Focuses on Maternal Mental Health
Edna Manning, For The Saskatoon Sun
Published: Sunday, April 03, 2011

2.  Up to 20 per cent of women suffer from depression related to pregnancy and childbirthi , meaning approximately 2600 Saskatchewan women and their families are affected every year.ii

There have been maternal suicides in Saskatchewan and an attempt in 2007 by a mother to kill her three young children.

Risk factors include a history of mental illness, cultural status, low income, low education, unplanned pregnancy, lack of social support, substance use, abuse and violence, and partner discord. It has been reported that 29.5% of high risk pregnant women in Saskatoon are depressed.iii

Symptoms of major depression include depressed mood most of the day and lack of interest and pleasure in most activities. This can be accompanied by changes in weight, sleep, physical activity and energy.  Women may also have feelings of worthlessness and guilt, a diminished ability to concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death and suicide.iv

Twelve per cent of maternal deaths attributed to psychiatric illness.v
Effects of untreated maternal depression on mothers:
  • more likely to use alcohol, drugs and smoke during pregnancyvi
  • less likely to receive adequate prenatal carevii
  • pregnancies are more likely to end prematurely and have complicationsviii
  • reduces ability to bond and interact with her infantix
  • suicide and infanticide
Effects of maternal depression on children:
  • increased risk of pre-term birth and low birth weightx
  • increased risk of SIDSxi  
  • more likely to experience growth, attachment, psychological, behavioural, and developmental problemsxii
  • more likely to have ADHD , depression and autismxiv
  • increased criminalityxv and social and school difficulties
Partners of women with maternal depression are 50 per cent more likely to be depressed themselves.xvi  

Maternal depression can be effectively screened and treated early with Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale.xvii  


i Marcus SM, Flynn HA, Blow FC, & Barry KL (2003). Depressive symptoms among pregnant women screened in obstetrics settings. J Women's Health, 12(4), 373-380.
ii Prevalence based on an average of 13 000 births per year in Saskatchewan
iii Bowen A, Stewart N, Baetz M, & Muhajarine N (2009). Antenatal depression in socially high-risk women in Canada. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi:10.1136/jech.2008.078832
iv Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, page 356
v Oates M (2003). Suicide: The leading cause of maternal death. Br J Psychiat, 183, 279-281.
vi Homish GG, Cornelius JR, Richardson GA, & Day NL (2004). Antenatal risk factors associated with postpartum comorbid alcohol use and depressive symptomatology. Alcohol Clin Exp Res, 28(8), 1242-1248.
Zhu S, & Valbo A (2002). Depression and smoking in pregnancy. Addic Behav, 27, 649-658.
vii Bonari L, Pinto N, Ahn E, Einarson A, Steiner M, & Koren G (2004). Perinatal risks of untreated depression during pregnancy. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 49(11), 726-735.
Zuckerman BS, Amaro H, Bauchner H, & Cabral H (1989). Depression symptoms during pregnancy: Relationship to poor health behaviors. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 160(5), 1107-1111.
viii Austin M-P, Tully L, & Parker G (2006). Examining the relationship between antenatal anxiety and postnatal depression. J Aff Dis.
O'Keane V, & Scott J (2005). From 'obstetric complications' to a maternal-foetal origin hypothesis of mood disorder. Brit J Psychiat, 186, 367-368.
Teixeira JMA, Fisk NM, & Glover V (1999). Association between maternal anxiety in pregnancy and increased uterine artery resistance index: cohort based study. Brit Med J, 318, 153-157.
ix Taylor A, Atkins R, Kumar R, Adams D, & Glover V (2005). A new mother-to-infant bonding scale:links with early mood. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 8(1), 45-51.
x Chung TKH, Lau K, Yip ASK, Chiu HFK, & Lee DTS (2001). Antepartum depressive symptomatology is associated with adverse obstetric and neonatal outcomes. Psychosom Med, 63(5), 830-834.
xi Mitchell EA, Thompson JMD, Stewart AW, Webster ML, Taylor BJ, Hassall IB, et al. (1992). Postnatal depression and SIDS: A prospective study. J Ped Child Hlth, 28(Supp 1), S13-16.
xii Murray L, & Cooper PJ (2003). Intergenerational transmission of affective and cognitive processes associated with depression: infancy and the pre-school years. In Goodyer IM (Ed.), (pp. 17-42). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Weinstock M (2001). Alterations induced by gestational stress in brain morphology and behaviour of the offspring. Prog Neurobiol, 65(5), 427-451.
xiii Glover V, & O'Connor TG (2002). Effects of antenatal stress and anxiety: Implications for development and psychiatry. Brit J Psychiat, 180, 389-391.
xiv Wilkerson DS, Volpe AG, Dean RS, & Titus JB (2002). Perinatal complications as predictors of infantile autism. Int J Neurosci, 9(112), 1085-1098.
xv Maki P, Veijola J, Rasanen P, Joukamaa M, Valonen P, Jokelainen J, et al. (2003). Criminality in the offspring of antenatally depressed mothers: a 33-year follow-up of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort. J Aff Dis, 74, 273-278.
xvi Goodman JH (2004). Paternal postpartum depression, its relationship to maternal postpartum depression, and its implications for family health. J Adv Nurs, 45(1), 26-35.
xvii Cox JL, Holden JM, & Sagovsky R (1987). Detection of postnatal depression. Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Brit J Psychiat, 150, 782-786.

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