Women's Mental Health up to Eight Years after Childbirth and Associated Risk Factors: Longitudinal Findings from the All Our Families Cohort in Canada
This study examined the prevalence of elevated maternal anxiety and/or depression symptoms up to eight years after childbirth and the association between role and relationship strains during parenting and mental health challenges from three to eight years after childbirth.Methods
This study used data from the All Our Families longitudinal pregnancy cohort. Role and relationship strain factors and anxiety and depression symptoms were measured at repeated time points from four months to eight years after childbirth. The proportion of women with elevated anxiety and/or depression was calculated at each available time point. Generalized estimating equation models were used to examine the association between role and relationship strain factors and anxiety and/or depression from three to eight years after childbirth. Predicted probability of having anxiety and/or depression was estimated across those with and without challenges with roles and relationships. The models were adjusted for known risk factors such as maternal income and perinatal anxiety and/or depression.Results
The prevalence of elevated anxiety and/or depression ranged from 18.8% (at four months) to 26.2% (at eight years). The adjusted odds ratio of anxiety and/or depression was 3.5 (95% CI = 2.9, 4.3) for those juggling family responsibilities and 2.4 (95% CI = 2.0, 3.0) for those with stressful partner relationship compared to their counterparts. Similarly, experiencing financial crunch and poor partner relationship were associated with increased mental health difficulties. Women without challenges in roles or relationships had a 23% lower predicted probability of anxiety and/or depression than those with the challenges.Conclusions
Monitoring mothers for anxiety and depression beyond the postpartum period and strategies that address role and relationship challenges may be valuable to women at risk of anxiety and depression.