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Major depression in pregnancy and post partum associated with anxiety disorders and substance use
  1. Debra Kay Creedy1,
  2. Jenny Gamble2
  1. 1Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  2. 2School of Nursing & Midwifery, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Debra Kay Creedy
    Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies, University of Queensland, Mansfield Place, St Lucia, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia; d.creedy{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Women are vulnerable to depression and anxiety during pregnancy and post partum, yet only one in four seek help.

  • Clinical management of mothers experiencing depression should assess for substance abuse, unmet needs and psychiatric co-morbidities.

  • Population-based studies can determine prevalence but cause and effect is best shown through intervention-based randomised controlled trials.

  • Depressed women are less likely to respond to surveys, so using face-to-face and telephone interviews can enhance response rates and completion.


Pregnancy can trigger a first depressive episode or recurrence of depression for some women. Depressive symptoms of pregnant and post partum women do not differ much from those of depressed women at other …

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  • Competing interests None.