Pregnant women and those who have recently given birth are said to be very vulnerable to mental disorders, leading to poor general health, inadequate pre-natal care and poor outcomes for their children. However, a US study based on interviews with more than 43,000 women, showed that those who had been pregnant within the past year (14,549) were actually less likely to abuse alcohol or any substance — other than illicit drugs — than non-pregnant women. They also were less likely to seek treatment for any psychiatric disorder. Those pregnant at the time of the study had a lower risk of any mood disorder, except major depression (after the birth), than non-pregnant women.

The risk was not in pregnancy itself, said the researchers, but linked with the woman’s age, marital status, health status, and other factors. The high risk groups included women age 18 to 25 living without a partner, widowed, separated, divorced or never married and women who experienced pregnancy complications or stressful life events. ~ Archives of General Psychiatry/Newswise, July 3 

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet