Spousal Military Deployment as a Risk Factor for Postpartum Depression
To compare the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) results in women whose spouses had deployed during or after pregnancy vs. those whose spouses had not. A chart review of 6-week postpartum visits of women with active-duty spouses was conducted over 10 months. Associations between military deployments and EPDS score were examined by Student's t test, and rates of positive screens (with a cutoff of 12) between groups were compared by odds ratio (OR). Linear regression was used to calculate predictors of EPDS score. A total of 415 charts were analyzed. The average EPDS score of women whose partner did deploy during the pregnancy was 7.36 compared to 4.81 for those whose partners did not (p < 0.001). The percentage of positive screens for women whose partner deployed during the pregnancy was 25.27% compared with 10.94% for an OR of 2.75 (p < 0.001). Linear regression showed partner's deployment during pregnancy to be an independent predictor of EPDS score (p < 0.005). Deployment of a spouse during pregnancy may be a risk factor for depression. Aggressive screening of this at-risk population is recommended.