In two large meta-analyses on the prevalence of prenatal depression, the range was reported at 6.5 to 12.9% in one meta-analysis (Gavin, Gaynes, Lohr, Meltzer-Brody, Gartlehner, & Swinson, 2005
) and at 7.4%, 12.8% and 12% for the first, second and third trimester, respectively in a second meta-analysis (Bennett, Einarson, Taddio, Koren, & Einarson, 2004
). Very few studies have identified major depression and dysthymia with depressed individuals (Yang & Dunner, 2001
), and those that have, present conflicting findings with more symptoms noted for major depression in some studies (Klonsky & Bertelson, 2000
), in contrast to more symptoms noted for dysthymia in others (Yang & Dunner, 2001
), and even similar symptoms for both conditions (Flament, Cohen, Choquet, Jeammet & Ledoux, 2001
In a recent study on prenatal depression, we compared women with dysthymia and major depression during pregnancy (Field, Diego, Hernandez-Reif, Figueiredo, Ascencio et al., 2007). The major depression group had more self-reported symptoms on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, on the State Anxiety Inventory, on the State Anger Inventory, on the Daily Hassles Scale and on the Behavior Inhibition Scale. However, the dysthymic group had higher prenatal cortisol levels and lower fetal growth measures (estimated weight, femur length and abdominal circumference) as measured at the first ultrasound (M=22 weeks gestational age). Thus, the two types of depressed pregnant women appeared to have different prenatal symptoms with differential effects on their fetuses. In the present study, on a different sample, we assessed neonatal outcomes and performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale for the newborns of dysthymic and MDD mothers.