Are labor pain and birth experience associated with persistent pain and postpartum depression? A Prospective Cohort Study
AuthorRosseland, Leiv Arne; Reme, Silje Endresen; Simonsen, Tone Breines; Thoresen, Magne; Nielsen, Christopher Sivert; Eberhard Gran, Malin
Methods - The study sample was drawn from the Akershus Birth Cohort. Data from multiple sources were used, including the hospital’s birth record (n = 4,391), questionnaire data from gestational week 17 of pregnancy (n = 3,752), 8 weeks postpartum (n = 2,217), and two questions about pain and birth experience asked within 48 h after delivery (n = 1,221). The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used to measure postpartum depression, a single question was used to measure persistent pain 8 weeks postpartum, while pain and birth experience were measured by numeric rating scales. A history of pre-pregnant depression and chronic pain were measured through self-report questions in gestational week 17. A total of 645 women had complete data from all sources. We applied multiple imputation techniques to handle missing responses on the two questions about pain and birth experience.
Results - The results showed that neither labor pain nor birth experience were associated with persistent pain 8 weeks postpartum, whereas pain before pregnancy (OR 3.70; 95% CI 2.71–5.04) and a history of depression (OR 2.31; 95% CI 1.85–2.88) were statistically significant predictors of persistent pain. A negative birth experience was significantly (OR 1.16; 95% CI 1.04–1.29) associated with postpartum depression, whereas labor pain intensity was not. A history of depression (OR 3.95; 95% CI 2.92–5.34) and pre-pregnancy pain (OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.37–3.01) were important predictors of postpartum depression 8 weeks after delivery.
Conclusions and implications - Whilst the relationship between labor pain intensity and postpartum pain and depression remain unclear, our results do imply the need to screen for previous depression and chronic pain conditions in pregnant women, as well as consider preventive measures in those who screen positive.