Depression Screening in Early Pregnancy and Associations With Pregnancy Outcomes Among a Diverse Cohort [32J]

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Depression is a common perinatal occurrence, yet research regarding how early depression can be identified and whether it differs by pregnancy outcome (delivery/abortion) is limited.


English- or Spanish-speaking women, aged 15–44, <24 weeks gestation seeking pregnancy testing or abortion care were enrolled in a prospective cohort study from 2014 to 2015. The Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) assessed depression at enrollment and 3 months later. Participants with positive depression screen (EDS ≥13) received mental health referral. Pregnancy outcomes were assessed via phone interviews and medical chart review. Women with miscarriage were excluded from this analysis.


Among 100 participants with complete EDS data, women averaged 26.8 (±6.3) years and 9.3 (±4.6) weeks gestation. Seventy-nine percent presented for walk-in pregnancy testing; 21% for abortion. Participants were culturally diverse: 48.0% Hispanic, 30.6% Black, non-Hispanic, 14.3% White, non-Hispanic and 7.1% multiracial. Most (66%) continued pregnancy, 44% chose abortion. At enrollment, 21% screened positive for depression, and women choosing delivery (17%) were not statistically different from women choosing abortion (29%) (P=.138). At 3-month follow-up, 18% screened positive for depression; no difference was observed between women choosing delivery (14%) compared to abortion (27%) (P=.114). The overall proportion of women with a positive screen for depression remained stable from enrollment to 3-month follow-up (P=.549), and remained stable among women choosing delivery (P=.727) and abortion (P=>.999).


Antenatal depression is common amongst women early in pregnancy, whether choosing delivery or abortion. Early screening may provide opportunities for early interventions. Future research should test early interventions.

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