Prepregnancy body mass index, gestational weight gain, and elevated depressive symptoms in a Hispanic cohort

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Our objective was to assess the associations among prepregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI), gestational weight gain (GWG), and elevated depressive symptoms across pregnancy.


We evaluated these associations among 1,090 participants in Proyecto Buena Salud, a prospective cohort study of Hispanic (predominantly Puerto Rican) women in Western Massachusetts. BMI and GWG were self-reported; GWG was classified according to the 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines. Depressive symptoms were assessed in early, mid-, and late pregnancy using the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). We defined elevated depressive symptoms as EPDS scores ≥13 and ≥15.


In multivariable, longitudinal modeling, overweight (25.0 to <30 kg/m2) women had an odds ratio of 0.53 (95% CI [0.31, 0.90]) for EPDS scores ≥13 and 0.51 (95% CI [0.28, 0.91]) for EPDS scores ≥15 compared to normal weight women. We did not observe an association between GWG or an interaction between BMI and GWG, in predicting elevated depressive symptoms.


Our findings provide preliminary support for an association of prepregnancy overweight status and lower depressive symptoms across pregnancy in Hispanic women. Future research should focus on potential social and cultural differences in perceptions of weight and weight gain in the perinatal period and how these influence psychological health.