Evid Based Nurs 17:11-12 doi:10.1136/eb-2012-101164
  • Midwifery
  • Cohort study

Pregnant women screening positive for depressive symptoms at 24–28 weeks may have increased risk of preterm birth but more precise research is needed

  1. Christine Dunkel Schetter
  1. Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Christine Dunkel Schetter
    Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1285A Franz Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA; dunkel{at}

Commentary on:

Implications for practice and research

  • ▪ Screening for prenatal depressive symptoms and pregnancy anxiety is recommended.

  • ▪ In predicting birth outcomes, essential controls include antidepressant use, medical risk conditions, body mass index and smoking.

  • ▪ Analyses should consider low birth weight (LBW) and preterm birth (PTB) together to determine any distinct psychosocial risk factors and establish precise pathways.


The prevalence of prenatal depression and anxiety ranges between 5% and 16% and the consequences are extensive.1 In addition to negative maternal effects, research points to detrimental fetal effects, and higher rates of PTB and LBW. Postpartum symptoms of depression and …

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