The co-existence of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms in the perinatal period: A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


OBJECTIVE: to identify and appraise the current international evidence regarding the presence and prevalence of the co-existence of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms in the antenatal and post partum period.

METHODS: using a list of keywords, Medline, CINHAL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PsychINFO, Web of Science and the Index of Theses and Conference Proceedings (Jan 1960 - Jan 2015) were systematically searched. Experts in the field were contacted to locate papers that were in progress or in press. Reference lists from relevant review articles were searched. Inclusion criteria included full papers published in English reporting concurrent depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms in pregnant and post partum women. A validated data extraction review tool was used.

FINDINGS: 3424 citations were identified. Three studies met the full inclusion criteria. All reported findings in the postnatal period. No antenatal studies were identified. The prevalence of triple co-morbidity was relatively low ranging from 2% to 3%.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: triple co-morbidity does occur, although the prevalence appears to be low. Due to the presentation of complex symptoms, women with triple co-morbidity are likely to be difficult to identify, diagnose and treat. Clinical staff should be aware of the potential of complex symptomatology.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-9
Number of pages10
Early online date4 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Depression, Anxiety, Post-traumatic stress symptoms, Triple co-morbidity, Co-existence, Post partum