Depression affects between 6.5-19.2% of pregnant women and those in the first three months postpartum. Although there has been work to examine psychosocial risk factors for postpartum depression, there have been no comprehensive assessments of risk factors during pregnancy – despite the frequency of interactions between pregnant women and their obstetric providers. Perinatal depression has also been narrowly considered primarily as depression occurring within 4 weeks after delivery. Lastly, investigation of psychosocial and biological risk factors have been largely conducted separately. These factors have limited our understanding of how depression may manifest at different times throughout and after pregnancy, in order to precisely define the time period and risk factors most relevant to perinatal depression. Understanding risk factors and risk periods has important implications for the long-term health of the mother and infants.
To address this gap, we aim to recruit 100 women at or near their first prenatal visit at the UCLA Westwood Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinic to participate in a longitudinal study, starting when the patient first establishes prenatal care at UCLA until one-year postpartum. Participation involves a baseline and postpartum assessment, remote assessments for up to 20 months (including symptom reporting by text and e-mail, and installing an app on the participant’s smartphone to track activity and behavior), consent for research team to access electronic medical record data, and completion of monthly online surveys. Such a longitudinal and integrative dataset will enable us to track the trajectory of depression symptoms and to assess a number of potential risk factors throughout pregnancy and up to one year after delivery, in order to identify potential predictors of perinatal depression.
This study is conducted by the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge.