Suicide Attempts Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women in Japan: A Nationwide Retrospective Cohort Study

Objective: To describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of pregnant and postpartum women in Japan with psychoneurological disorders who attempt suicide.

Method: A nationwide retrospective cohort study was conducted using the Diagnosis Procedure Combination database, a national database on acute-care inpatients in Japan. All pregnant and postpartum women who had psychoneurological disorders (ICD-10 codes: O993, F530, F531) and were admitted to participating hospitals from January 2016 to March 2018 were identified. Among eligible patients, the prevalence of suicide attempts, risk factors for suicidal behaviors, maternal outcomes, and other characteristics were investigated.

Results: Among the 3,286 eligible patients (3,026 pregnant women and 260 postpartum women), 22 pregnant women and 16 postpartum women had attempted suicide. The prevalence of suicide attempts was significantly higher among postpartum women (6.2%) than among pregnant women (0.7%; P < .001). Postpartum patients were more likely to be aged 30 years or older and to have depression. Wrist cutting was the main method of suicide attempt among pregnant patients, whereas hanging was the main method among postpartum patients. Three postpartum patients died during hospitalization.

Conclusions: Postpartum patients were more likely to be in critical condition and to use fatal suicide attempt methods compared with pregnant women.

J Clin Psychiatry 2020;81(3):19m12993

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.19m12993