Psychological sequelae of medical complications during pregnancy

J. Burger, S. M. Horwitz, B. W.C. Forsyth, J. M. Leventhal, P. J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


To determine whether mothers with complicated pregnancies are at increased risk of postpartum depression and whether their children are at increased risk of being perceived as vulnerable, the investigators conducted an interview survey of mothers of 1095 children aged 4 to 8 in a community- based sample of primary care pediatric practices. The offspring were viewed as vulnerable by 17% of the women with severe pregnancy complications and 9% of the women without pregnancy complications (relative risk = 1.88; 95% confidence interval = 1.11, 2.63). Women with a severe complication of pregnancy were significantly more likely to report postpartum depression than those without a complication (27% vs 11%; relative risk = 2.45; 95% confidence interval = 1.55, 3.01). These relationships persisted after adjustment for prematurity, neonatal hospitalization, and demographic factors. It is concluded that pregnancy complications may place a woman at increased risk of postpartum depression and may have important effects on a mother's long-term perceptions of her child's vulnerability to illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-571
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • depression
  • pregnancy complications
  • vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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