Prevalence of perinatal depression in both parents |
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Prevalence of perinatal depression in both parents
Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India,  29 June 2022
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Parents, both mothers and fathers, can experience concurrent depression, either in the antenatal or postnatal period, suggests a new systematic review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Network Open.1

Smythe et al conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the prevalence of perinatal mood disorders among parent pairs before and following a birth. Twenty-three studies on prevalence of anxiety or depression in both parents, involving 29,286 couples from 15 mostly high-income countries were selected for the meta-analysis. Data was examined for antenatal depression, early postnatal depression (0-12 weeks), late postnatal depression (3-12 months).

Results of pooled analysis of data show that the prevalence of antenatal depression in both parents was 1.72%. The prevalence of early postnatal depression among couples was 2.37%, while the prevalence of late postnatal depression was 3.18%.

This study highlights the considerable burden of peri- and postnatal depression simultaneously in both parents, which not only affects their health, but also has an adverse impact on the health of their children, both mental and physical. Parental relationships too may be negatively impacted. Hence, clinicians should be aware that antenatal care is not just limited to the medical care of the mother and her unborn baby, it also entails screening of both parents, as a couple, for symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders. This should extend to the postnatal period also.


  1. Kara L Smythe, et al. Prevalence of perinatal depression and anxiety in both parents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Jun 1;5(6):e2218969. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.18969.
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