Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms among Pregnant and Postpartum Women in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hai Xin Bo, Yuan Yang, Jie Chen, Meng Zhang, Yilin Li, Dong Ying Zhang, Ying Li, Rui Li, Teris Cheung, Chee H. Ng, Xin Juan Wu, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)



According to recent studies, the COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with an increased risk of mental health problems across many subpopulations including pregnant and postnatal women. This study examined the prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms (depression hereafter) in Chinese pregnant and postpartum women during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


This was a multicenter, cross-sectional study comprising 1309 pregnant and postpartum women across 12 provinces in China during the COVID-19 pandemic. Depression was assessed using the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire. Univariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted. 


The prevalence of depression in pregnant and postpartum women was 27.43% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 25.01%-29.85%). Women who were worried about themselves or their babies being infected with COVID-19 (odds ratio [OR] = 2.562, 95% CI = 1.670-3.929), and those who had delayed regular medical checkups (OR = 2.434, 95% CI = 1.580-3.750) were at higher risk of depression. Compared with those living in central and western parts of China, women living in northern (OR = 0.513, 95% CI = 0.326-0.807) and southeastern parts of China (OR = 0.626, 95% CI = 0.463-0.846) were less likely to have depression. 


The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with an increased likelihood of mental health problems among pregnant and postnatal women. Over a quarter of the pregnant and postpartum women in China had depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the negative health impact of depression, preventive measures, regular mental health screening, and medical checkups are needed with the goal to reduce the risk of depression in this vulnerable population during a pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • CI = confidence interval
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 = novel coronavirus disease
  • depression
  • EPDS = Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale
  • Key words/Abbreviations
  • OR = odds ratio
  • PHQ-9 = Patient Health Questionnaire
  • postpartum
  • pregnant
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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