Depression during pregnancy and preterm delivery: A prospective cohort study among women attending antenatal clinic at Pumwani Maternity Hospital

Kingi Mochache, Muthoni Mathai, Onesmus Gachuno, Ann Stoep, Manasi Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Preterm birth occurs among 9.6% of births worldwide and is the leading cause of long-term neurodevelopmental disabilities among children and also responsible for 28% of neonatal deaths. No single etiological factor is responsible for preterm birth, but various risk factors have been identified. Prior studies have reported that compromised maternal mental health occurring during pregnancy may lead to various adverse obstetric outcomes. Objective: To determine whether antenatal depression is significantly associated with preterm delivery in a low resource hospital sample from suburbs of Nairobi. Methods: 292 women attending the antenatal clinic at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi meeting the study criteria were recruited. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was administered to screen for depression. A clinical cutoff score of 10 and above was regarded as possible depression. Thereafter, a clinical interview together with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 was administered to evaluate the participants on DSM-V criteria for major depressive disorder. Only 255 of the women were successfully followed-up to delivery with an attrition rate of 12.7%. Records of gestation at delivery and birth weight were collected at second contact. Data analysis: Preterm birth was associated with various demographic, psychosocial and medical variables. Relative risks were estimated via log binomial regression analysis to determine whether depression was a risk factor for preterm birth. Results: Of the 255 participants, 98(38.4%) found to have depressive symptoms and 27(10.7%) delivered preterm. The risk of delivering preterm was 3.8 times higher among those with depressive symptoms. Conclusion: There is a positive association between antenatal depression and preterm delivery. This highlights the importance of screening for mental health challenges in the antenatal period as a means to reduce adverse obstetric outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalAnnals of General Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Antenatal depression
  • Low-income country
  • Preterm delivery
  • Prospective cohort


Dive into the research topics of 'Depression during pregnancy and preterm delivery: A prospective cohort study among women attending antenatal clinic at Pumwani Maternity Hospital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this