Objective: To explore whether 1) maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy are associated with preterm birth (PTB), small for gestational age (SGA), a low Apgar score and child loss; 2) maternal smoking mediates the associations; and 3) the associations differ by ethnic background. Methods: Pregnant women in Amsterdam were approached during their first prenatal visit to participate in the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development study. They filled out a questionnaire covering sociodemographic data, life-style, and (psychosocial) health. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. The baseline sample consisted of 8,052 women; the main ethnic groups were: Dutch, Creole, Turkish, and Moroccan. Results: The prevalence of perinatal outcomes was: 5.4% (PTB); 12.3% (SGA); l 1.5% (low Apgar score); and 1.4% (child loss). The prevalence of high depressive symptomatology was 30.6%. After adjustment for maternal age, parity, education, ethnicity, prepregnancy body mass index, hypertension, alcohol and drug use, and a small mediation effect of maternal smoking, high versus low levels of depressive symptoms were associated with SGA (odds ratio [OR], 1.19; p = .02) and a low Apgar score (OR, 1.74; p = .01), but not with PTB (OR, 1.16; p = .18) and child loss (OR, 1.28; p = .24). Stratified analyses by ethnic background showed a tendency toward higher risks, although insignificant, among Creole women. Conclusions: Several pathways may explain the detrimental effects of maternal depressive symptomatology on perinatal health outcomes, including a psychoendocrinological pathway involving the hormone cortisol or mediation effects by maternal risk behaviors. Further research should explore the underlying pathways, in particular among ethnic subgroups.

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doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181ee4a62, hdl.handle.net/1765/71658
Psychosomatic Medicine
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Goedhart, G., Snijders, A., Hesselink, A., van Poppel, M., Bonsel, G., & Vrijkotte, T. (2010). Maternal depressive symptoms in relation to perinatal mortality and morbidity: Results from a large multiethnic cohort study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(8), 769–776. doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181ee4a62