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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Antenatal risk factors for postnatal depression: a prospective study of chinese women at maternal and child health centres

Bonnie WM Siu1*, Shirley SL Leung2, Patrick Ip3, Se Fong Hung4 and Michael W O'Hara5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, Castle Peak Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China

2 Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR, China

3 Community Child Health Unit, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

4 Department of Psychiatry, Kwai Chung Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China

5 Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA

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BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:22  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-22

Published: 22 March 2012



Risk factors for postnatal depression (PND) are under-explored in the Chinese populations. There is increasing recognition of the importance of identifying predictive factors during the antenatal period for PND. The present study aimed to identify the risk factors for postnatal depression in a community cohort of Chinese women with special focus on the antenatal risk factors.


Eight hundred and five Chinese women were interviewed during their third trimester of pregnancy and at around 2 months postnatally. Putative risk factors for PND were collected and the diagnosis of PND was confirmed by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders. The 2-month postnatal depression status was used as the dependent variable for univariate and multivariate analyses against putative risk factors.


Marital dissatisfaction (Relative Risk = 8.27), dissatisfied relationship with mother-in-law (Relative Risk = 3.93), antenatal depressive symptomatology (Relative Risk = 3.90), and anxiety-prone personality (Relative Risk = 2.14) predicted PND in Chinese women independently.


Chinese women tend to keep their own feelings and emotions and it is important to monitor Chinese pregnant women with these predictive risk factors so that PND can be identified early.

Postnatal; Depression; Antenatal; Risk factors; Chinese