Anxiety symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum

Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, Loree A. Primeau, Ruth E. Levine, Gayle L. Olson, Z. Helen Wu, Abbey B. Berenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional study compared the distribution of anxiety symptoms among pregnant, non-pregnant, and postpartum women of lower socioeconomic status. Participants were 807 women who were pregnant (24-36 weeks), postpartum (2-8 weeks), or not pregnant. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were assessed by the state-trait anxiety index and the Beck depression inventory, respectively. English and Spanish versions of the instrument were available. Group differences in anxiety were evaluated using analysis of variance. Multivariate regression was performed to evaluate differences in anxiety while controlling for marital status, education, race/ethnicity, employment, cohabitation, income, parity, history of depression/anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Anxiety scores were lower among postpartum women relative to pregnant and non-pregnant women (both P < 0.001), who did not differ (P = 0.99). After controlling for depressive symptoms and patient characteristics, anxiety remained lowest among postpartum women. Additionally, history of depression/anxiety and depressive symptoms were significant predictors of anxiety in the multivariate analysis. Comparatively low anxiety and depressive symptoms were observed among women who were 2-8 weeks postpartum. Anxiety symptoms that occur postpartum may not appear until later in the postpartum period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Postpartum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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