Suicidal ideation in pregnancy: Assessment and clinical implications

D. J. Newport, L. C. Levey, P. B. Pennell, K. Ragan, Z. N. Stowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were 1) to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation (SI) in pregnant women with a history of neuropsychiatric illness, 2) to assess the relative sensitivity of commonly used depression rating scales for detecting SI, and 3) to examine the sociodemographic and clinical predictors of SI in pregnant women. Demographic data, Beck Depression Inventory [BDI] and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression [HRSD] questionnaires, and SCID interviews were obtained from 383 pregnant women presenting to the Emory Women's Mental Health Program or the Emory Women's Epilepsy Program. Among those who completed both scales, 29.2% endorsed SI on the BDI and 16.9% on the HRSD, with 33.0% endorsing SI on at least one of the rating scales and 13.1% on both rating scales. The rate of SI endorsement on the BDI was 73.3% higher than the HRSD. Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated that SI in pregnant women was associated with unplanned pregnancy (OR = 2.97), current major depression (OR = 4.12), and comorbid anxiety disorder (OR = 4.17). Further studies are warranted to identify additional predictors of perinatal suicidality and to clarify the nature of the association between such factors and the presence of SI in pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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