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Mental illness is prevalent among UK women in the perinatal period and is associated with socioeconomic deprivation

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Question: What is the prevalence of maternal perinatal mental illness in UK general practice and is it associated with social deprivation?

Population: 116 457women aged 15–45 years with a pregnancy ending in live birth identified from UK-wide database of general practice records from 446 general practices (The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database). If women had more than one live birth in the study period, one live birth was selected at random for each woman.

Setting: UK general practice; 1994–2009.

Assessment: A combination of medical diagnoses plus drug prescriptions was used to identify women with depression, anxiety and serious mental illness. Women receiving psychotropic medications but with no mental health diagnosis were excluded. Diagnoses were assessed for the 9 months prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy (antenatal period) and in the 9 months following pregnancy (postnatal period). Newly diagnosed mental illness was estimated based on the number of women whose first recorded mental illness fell in each 9-month period. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the association of each mental illness with socioeconomic deprivation measured using household-level Townsend Index of …

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  • Sources of funding: Sources of funding for the study are not reported.


  • Competing interests None.

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