Postpartum Depression

The vast evidence supporting the critical relationship between maternal depression and child health clearly indicates that maternal mental health and child well-being are inextricably linked. According to data from the 2012 MA PRAMS, 5.9% of new mothers reported often or always feeling down, depressed or hopeless (compared with 7.7% during 2007-2008, 9.4% during 2009-2010, and 9.0% in 2011). Survey wordings were slightly different during 2007-2008 and 2012 compared to 2009-2011, and this may account for some of the variation. Hispanic (7.1%) and Black non-Hispanic (10.0%) mothers were more likely to report feeling down, depressed and sad than their White non-Hispanic (4.8%) and Asian (4.0%) counterparts. Mothers living at or below 100% of the federal poverty level (10.8%) were more likely to report feeling down, depressed, or hopeless than those living above 100% of the federal poverty level (3.9%). Children of depressed mothers see their primary care physicians more often and have higher rates of prescription medication use and hospitalizations than children of non-depressed mothers. Detecting and treating depression in pregnant and parenting women can have profound effects on promoting the mental wellness of all family members.

Related Postpartum Depression Web Sites

This information is provided by the Early Interventions Partnerships Program within the Department of Public Health.