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World J Psychiatr. Jul 19, 2021; 11(7): 325-336
Published online Jul 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i7.325
Risk factors for antenatal depression: A review
M Carmen Míguez, M Belén Vázquez
M Carmen Míguez, M Belén Vázquez, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela 15782, Spain
Author contributions: Míguez MC and Vázquez MB developed the framework of the paper; Vázquez MB carried out the literature searches and wrote the first draft; all authors worked on subsequent drafts, confirmed the last version before submission, and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: M Carmen Míguez, PhD, Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Campus Vida, Santiago de Compostela 15782, Spain. mcarmen.miguez@usc.es
Received: February 5, 2021
Peer-review started: February 5, 2021
First decision: March 8, 2021
Revised: March 20, 2021
Accepted: May 20, 2021
Article in press: May 20, 2021
Published online: July 19, 2021
Abstract

Depression is the most prevalent mental disorder in pregnancy, and yet it is less studied than postpartum depression despite the consequences it may have on both the pregnant woman and her offspring. Therefore, it would be important to know which risk factors may favour the appearance of antenatal depression in order to carry out appropriate prevention interventions. The aim of the present review was to identify the main risk factors of antenatal depression. We searched in databases PubMed and PsycINFO for articles published about the factors associated with antenatal depression from January 2010 through December 2020. The literature review identified three main groups of antenatal depression risk factors: sociodemographic, obstetric, and psychological. First, among the sociodemographic variables, the low level of studies and the economic income clearly stood out from the rest. Then, not having planned the pregnancy was the main obstetric variable, and finally, the main psychological risk factors were having a history of psychological disorders and/or depression as well as presenting anxiety, stress, and/or low social support during pregnancy. This review shows that the antenatal depression is affected by multiple factors. Most can be identified at the beginning of the pregnancy, and some are risk factors potentially modifiable through appropriate interventions, such as psychological factors. For this reason, it is important to carry out a good screening for depression during pregnancy and consequently, be able to prevent its appearance or treat it if necessary.

Keywords: Depression, Antenatal, Antenatal depression, Pregnancy, Risk factors, Review

Core Tip: Depression is the most prevalent mental disorder in pregnancy and is caused by multiple factors. This review article shows that sociodemographic, obstetric, and psychological factors are associated with the presence of antenatal depression. Most of them can be identified in early pregnancy. Therefore, a complete medical history along with the routine use of screening instruments to detect the risk profile of these women would allow the prevention and early detection of antenatal depression.