Master's Project Title:

Are self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms associated with partner pregnancy intention? Findings from Minnesota’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) Questionnaire

MCH Student:

Laura Andersn

Date of Defense:

August 31, 2011


Objectives:  We examined whether self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms (PPDS) were associated with partner pregnancy intention among respondents to Minnesota’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) questionnaire.

Methods:  We used data from 7,266 women who had delivered a live-born infant within six months of receiving the 2004-2008 PRAMS survey. Eleven percent reported PPDS as indicated by their answers to two separate questions about feelings since the birth of their infant (i.e., feeling depressed or hopeless and having little interest or little pleasure in doing things). A respondent was classified as having a partner-intended pregnancy if she reported that her partner wanted to be pregnant “sooner” or “right then,” and unintended if she reported that her partner did not want the pregnancy, wanted it later, or if she did “not know” his feelings about the pregnancy.  We used multiple logistic regressions to examine the association between partner pregnancy intention and PPDS, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, pregnancy experiences, and stressors (including abuse) around the time of pregnancy.

Results:  Respondents who perceived a partner-unintended pregnancy were significantly more likely to report PPDS when compared with those who reported positive partner intention (OR=2.01, 95% CI=1.68, 2.41).  Significantly higher rates of PPDS were also reported by women of color, women with lower household income, women served by public insurance, and women with fewer years of education. After adjusting for sociodemographic and psychosocial risk factors, the association between PPDS and partner intention was insignificant.

Conclusion:  Although a partner-unintended pregnancy was initially associated with two times higher risk for PPDS, the association became insignificant with the inclusion of other variables, including external stressors. Perceived partner intention may be part of a constellation of risk factors (e.g., abuse, stress), but it does not appear to be an independent risk marker for PPDS.