Mental health problems disproportionately affect women, particularly during childbearing years. We sought to estimate the prevalence of antepartum mental health problems and determine potential risk factors in a representative USA population. We examined data on 3,051 pregnant women from 11 panels of the 1996–2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Poor antepartum mental health was defined by self report of mental health conditions or symptoms or a mental health rating of “fair” or “poor.” Multivariate regression analyses modeled the odds of poor antepartum mental health; 7.8% of women reported poor antepartum mental health. A history of mental health problems increased the odds of poor antepartum mental health by a factor of 8.45 (95% CI, 6.01–11.88). Multivariate analyses were stratified by history of mental health problems. Significant factors among both groups included never being married and self-reported fair/poor health status. This study identifies key risk factors associated with antepartum mental health problems in a nationally representative sample of pregnant women. Women with low social support, in poor health, or with a history of poor mental health are at an increased risk of having antepartum mental health problems. Understanding these risk factors is critical to improve the long-term health of women and their children.
Keywords: Pregnancy, Mental health, Prevalence, Population-based, Antepartum mental health