(334) 844-3299
Detailed Record
Share this Article

Incidence and risk factors for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders among women veterans

APA Citation:

Pratt, A. A., Sadler, A. G., Thomas, E. B. K., Syrop, C. H., Ryan, G. L., & Mengeling, M. A. (2023). Incidence and risk factors for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders among women veterans. General Hospital Psychiatry, 84, 112–124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2023.06.013

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study sought to determine prevalence rates and risk factors for postpartum depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women Veterans (N = 1,039) after their most recent pregnancy. This study also examined the co-occurrence of multiple diagnoses, risk factors shared across diagnosis type, and unique military-related factors (e.g., combat exposure) that may contribute to postpartum depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Overall, the 3 most salient risk factors associated with all 3 postpartum disorders were (1) having a mental health diagnosis before the most recent pregnancy, (2) prior traumatic birth experience, and (3) being in the military during the most recent pregnancy.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:



Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Pratt, Alessandra A., Sadler, Anne G., Thomas, Emily B. K., Syrop, Craig H., Ryan, Ginny L., Mengeling, Michelle A.


Background Our aim was to determine rates of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) among U.S. women Veterans and the overlap among PMADs. We further sought to identify PMAD risk factors, including those unique to military service. Methods A national sample of women Veterans completed a computer-assisted telephone interview (N = 1414). Eligible participants were aged 20–45 and had separated from service within the last 10 years. Self-report measures included demographics, general health, reproductive health, military exposures, sexual assault, childhood trauma, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The PMADs of interest were postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety (PPA) and postpartum PTSD (PPPTSD). This analysis included 1039 women Veterans who had ever been pregnant and who answered questions about PPMDs related to their most recent pregnancy. Results A third (340/1039, 32.7%) of participants were diagnosed with at least one PMAD and one-fifth (215/1039, 20.7%) with two or more. Risk factors common for developing a PMAD included: a mental health diagnosis prior to pregnancy, a self-report of ever having had a traumatic birth experience, and most recent pregnancy occurring during military service. Additional risk factors were found for PPD and PPPTSD. Conclusion Women Veterans may be at an increased risk for developing PMADs due to high rates of lifetime sexual assault, mental health disorders, and military-specific factors including giving birth during military service and military combat deployment exposures.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


maternal mental health, military exposures, postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, postpartum, posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, sexual assault

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  November 2023

This website uses cookies to improve the browsing experience of our users. Please review Auburn University’s Privacy Statement for more information. Accept & Close