One in six women suffers from postpartum depression A study published in the Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin (BEH) shows that two months after giving birth, one in six women suffered postpartum depression (DPP), more than one in four had a significant level of anxiety and one in 20 women reported suicidal thoughts.
Postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, and suicidal ideation can have harmful consequences for the mother and newborn. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of PPD, anxiety, and suicidal ideation at two months postpartum (PP) among women who gave birth in France in 2021 and to propose regional variations.
In 2021, in mainland France, the prevalence of PPD was 16.7% (95% confidence interval, 95% CI: (15.7-17.7)), with a regional disparity highlighting regions with significantly lower prevalences (Hauts-de-France, Grand Est, Bourgogne-Franche- Comté, New Aquitaine) or higher (Île-France, Centre-Loire Valley and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) than that of France.
The prevalence of anxiety was 27.6%. (26.5-28.8) overall and 83.2% (80.6-85.7) among women with PPD. A regional disparity was also observed in anxiety, with prevalences significantly lower (Normandy, New Aquitaine) or higher (Centre-Val de Loire, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) than in France.
The prevalence of suicidal ideation was 5.4%. (4.7-6.1) overall and 23.8% (12.1-26.9) among women with PPD.
Conducted with a representative sample of women who gave birth in mainland France in March 2021, These estimates show that two months after giving birth, one in six women had postpartum depression, more than one in four had a significant level of anxiety, and one in 20 women reported suicidal thoughts. These results are consistent with international data on perinatal mental health. They underline the fundamental nature of prevention policies and the need to adapt the offer of care in psychology/psychiatry, in line with the important needs described.
Women favorably receive these examinations, with good acceptability of self-questionnaires. Therefore, screening initiatives appear to be the first step toward appropriate care. Furthermore, the questionnaire EPDS (Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale), Despite its limitations, it can on its own help the clinician in this universal triple screening of women in PP. It is essential to evaluate these symptoms early and periodically after delivery.
It is with this objective that the postnatal interview has become mandatory in France to improve prevention, screening, and therefore treatment of disorders occurring in PP.
The very rich data from the 2021 National Perinatal Survey (ENP) will allow us in the future to better understand the determinants of these different PP disorders in the French context, in order to direct prevention strategies towards subgroups of women at higher risk.
Methods – The sample included 7,133 women who gave birth in mainland France in a given week in March 2021 and who completed the 10 items of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) self-questionnaire at two months of gestation. The data were weighted to be representative of women who gave birth in mainland France that same week. National prevalences of PPD (EPDS score≥13), anxiety (EPDS-3A≥5), and suicidal ideation (EPDS item 10≥1) were estimated. Given the figures, only the regional prevalences of PPD and anxiety, standardized by age, were estimated.
Doncarli A, Tebeka S, Demiguel V, Lebreton É, Deneux-Tharaux C, Boudet-Berquier J, et al. Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation two months after childbirth: data from the 2021 National Perinatal Survey in mainland France. Toro Epidemiol Weekly. 2023;(18):348-60.