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Axis I Psychopathology and Functional Impairment at the Third Month of Pregnancy: Results From the Perinatal Depression-Research and Screening Unit (PND-ReScU) Study

J Clin Psychiatry 2008;69(10):1617-1624

Objective: Recent studies indicate that the prevalence and 12-month incidence of mental disorders during pregnancy are similar to those of age-matched nonpregnant women. The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence, sociodemographic correlates, and functional impairment associated with Axis I disorders in women at the third month of pregnancy.

Method: 1066 women presenting at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Pisana (Pisa, Italy) for the first ultrasound examination between the 12th and the 15th gestational weeks were recruited for participation in the Program "Perinatal Depression-Research and Screening Unit (PND-ReScU)" and were administered the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale. Study recruitment began in February 2004 and ended in March 2007.

Results: The prevalence of lifetime Axis I disorders at the third month of pregnancy was 50.4%. 255 women (23.9%) had 2 or more lifetime comorbid disorders. 26.3% met criteria for current Axis I disorders. Current comorbidity between depressive and anxiety disorders was found in 47 women (4.4%).

Conclusion: One in 5 women presented with a current Axis I disorder, and a higher percentage met criteria for a lifetime Axis I disorder. Early detection of psychopathology at the beginning of pregnancy may help to plan an adequate treatment in order to achieve a better postpartum adjustment and to reduce the risk of adverse obstetrical and psychopathological outcome.