Effects of perinatal depression and anxiety on labor and delivery outcomes

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Mental and Social Health | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Women's Health


INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to determine how perinatal depression and anxiety effect obstetric outcomes and perceptions of labor and delivery experiences.

METHODS: This prospective observational study examined the labor and delivery experiences of 25 high-risk and 25 low-risk women. The high-risk group was defined by symptoms during pregnancy as determined by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, whereas the low-risk group reported no symptoms. Women in both groups were monitored with the Hamilton Rating Scales for depression and anxiety and filled out a questionnaire about their labor and delivery.

RESULTS: The high-risk cohort had significantly more depressive symptoms than the low-risk cohort throughout pregnancy and into the postpartum period (P<.001). Similarly, the high-risk cohort had significantly more anxiety symptoms than the low-risk cohort (P<.001). The high-risk cohort was significantly more likely to report their labor and delivery was a traumatic experience (P=.046) and to have their labor induced (P=.018) as compared with the low-risk cohort. There was no significant difference in the rates of preterm labor (P=.149) or method of delivery (P=1.00) between both groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Factors such as preterm labor, labor induction, and cesarean deliveries can cause women to report having traumatic deliveries. It is not known whether labor induction alone caused traumatic birth experiences or whether mood was a predisposing factor to a traumatic delivery. More research must be done to identify the mechanisms by which mood can influence labor and delivery outcomes.

DOI of Published Version



Obstet Gynecol. 2014 May;123 Suppl 1:82S-3S. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000447410.24175.c4. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Obstetrics and gynecology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID