Postpartum Depressive Symptoms: Gestational Weight Gain as a Risk Factor for Adolescents Who Are Overweight or Obese.J Midwifery Womens Health 2018; 63(2):178-184JM
Obesity is a risk factor for adverse physical health outcomes during pregnancy. Much less is known about the association between obesity and maternal mental health. Evidence suggests that prenatal depression is associated with excessive weight gain during pregnancy and that this relationship may vary according to pregravid body mass index (BMI). Young women may be particularly vulnerable to postpartum depression. The objective of this study is to examine the association between prepregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain, and postpartum depressive symptoms among adolescents.
Participants were 505 pregnant adolescents aged 14 to 21 years followed during pregnancy and 6 months postpartum. Data were collected via interviews and medical record abstraction. Multilevel linear mixed models were used to test the association between excessive gestational weight gain as defined by National Academy of Medicine Guidelines and postpartum depressive symptoms measured via the validated Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Analyses controlled for sociodemographic factors (maternal age, race, ethnicity, relationship status), health behaviors (nutrition, physical activity), prenatal depressive symptoms, and postpartum weight retention.
Prepregnancy BMI was classified as follows: 11% underweight, 53% healthy weight, 19% overweight, and 18% obese. One-half (50%) of participants exceeded recommended guidelines for gestational weight gain. Adolescents with excessive gestational weight gain who entered pregnancy overweight or obese had significantly higher postpartum depressive symptoms (β, 2.41; SE, 1.06 vs β, 2.58; SE, 1.08, respectively; both P < .05) compared with those with healthy prepregnancy BMI and appropriate gestational weight gain. Adolescents who gained gestational weight within clinically recommended guidelines were not at risk for increased depressive symptoms.
Adolescents who enter pregnancy overweight or obese and experience excessive weight gain may be at increased risk for postpartum depressive symptoms. Health care providers should offer preventive interventions during pregnancy and the interconceptional period to support healthy weight gain and safeguard women's mental health.