Predicting Factors of Depression, Antidepressant Use and Positive Response to Antidepressants in Perinatal and Postpartum Women

Huyen Vu1, *, Fadia T. Shaya2
1 University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, Baltimore, MD, USA
2 University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Baltimore, MD, USA

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© 2017 Vu and Shaya.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Sciences, 110 North Pine Street, Room 109C, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA; Tel: (410) 706-4094; Fax: (410) 706-4012; E-mail:



In the United States, there is a disparity in knowledge of nationwide depression prevalence, the antidepressant use and the antidepressant responses during perinatal/postpartum periods.


This study investigated the predicting factors of depression, antidepressant use and positive antidepressant response during the perinatal/postpartum periods.


The 2007-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) were combined to identify adult pregnant women, those within the 18-month postpartum period (n=492) and their depression statuses via demographics, health care accessibility, antidepressant use and illicit drug use information. The characteristics of different study groups were compared (depression versus no-depression groups, antidepressant users versus non-antidepressant users, and antidepressant responders versus antidepressant non-responders). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to predict factors of perinatal depression (PND)/ postpartum depression (PPD), antidepressant use and antidepressant positive response in PND/PPD.


PND/PPD individuals had higher rates of mental health visits. No predicting factor for developing PND/PPD was shown. Antidepressant users were significantly older with insurance and recent health checkups/ mental visits. Being below the poverty level and having some health care accessibility are predictors for being on antidepressants. Recent non-illicit drug use is a predictor for PND/PPD symptom improvement while on antidepressants.


The group of those with social-economic disadvantages was more likely to be on antidepressants for PND/PPD. Illicit drug users were less likely to show improvement with antidepressants. The safety and efficacy of antidepressant use during this period is controversial. More studies need to focus on the barriers involving antidepressant treatments, the safety and outcomes of antidepressants for PND/PPD management.

Keywords: Depression, Antidepressant, Perinatal women, Postpartum women, Illicit drug.