Weight-depression association in a high-risk maternal population Academic Article uri icon


  • Both maternal depression and overweight carry potential adverse effects on perinatal health and are inter-related. We explored the relationship between weight and depressive symptoms in a high-risk maternal population. We administered the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to all women attending the Motherisk Clinic at The Hospital for Sick Children between October 2007 and April 2010. We explored possible associations between the EPDS scores, maternal weight and other characteristics. The study population consisted of 352 women, 43.7% of whom were pregnant, with a variety of exposures. Twenty seven percent of the study population had diagnosed depression. Depressed women had a significantly higher body weight compared to non-depressed women (p = 0.016). The same finding remained significant in the pregnant sub-group. The EPDS score, for the entire study population, was significantly correlated with body weight (p = 0.027). Use of antidepressants was an independent predictor of maternal weight in a multivariate regression analysis. There is a strong association between maternal weight and depressive symptoms, whether diagnosed or not. Antidepressant therapy is an independent predictor of maternal weight. Since both depression and maternal overweight may adversely affect pregnancy outcome, and are treatable, addressing both is essential for optimal pregnancy management.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012