The prevalence of postpartum depression is about 10-15%. In a meta-analysis of the literature on risk factors for postpartum depression, 8 studies were identified that examined the influence of socioeconomic status. Overall, an association was found between socioeconomic status and depression, although the effect size was small. In a Finnish study, mothers with fewer years of education had higher scores on a self-completed depression scale. Another sample of 130 low income women in the United States revealed that almost 1 in 3 women were experiencing depressive symptoms in pregnancy, which is a known risk factor for postpartum depression. In contrast, a Swedish study found no difference in the sociodemographic characteristics of depressed and non-depressed women. However, in Sweden, there is an antenatal care system that reaches almost 100% of pregnant women, which may explain this finding.
For more information on the impact of maternal homelessness and substance use on pregnany outcome, refer to the following article:
Little, M, Shah, R, Vermeulen, MJ, Gorman, A, Dzendolatas, D, Ray, JG. Adverse perinatal outcomes associated with homelessness and substance use in pregnancy. CMAJ 2005;173:615-8.
13. Tammentie, T, Tarkka, MT, Astedt-Kurki, P, Paavilainen, E. Sociodemographic factors of families related to postpartum depression of mothers. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2002;8:240-6.