BACKGROUND: To investigate the rates of hospitalisation for anaemia and depression in women in the six-year period (3 years before and after birth). To compare hospital admissions for depression in women with and without anaemia. METHODS: This is a population-based cohort study. Women’s birth records (New South Wales (NSW) Perinatal Data Collection) were linked with NSW Admitted Patients Data Collection records between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2010, so that hospital admissions for mothers could be traced back for 3 years before birth and followed up 3 years after birth. SETTING: NSW Australia. SUBJECTS: all women who gave birth to their first child in NSW between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2008. RESULTS: Hospital admissions for both anaemia and depression were increased significantly in the year just before and after birth compared with the years before and after. Women with anaemia were more likely to be admitted to hospital for depression than those without (for principal diagnosis of depression, adjusted OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.25-2.11; for all diagnosis of depression, adjusted OR = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.70-2.38). CONCLUSIONS: Depression was associated with anaemia in women before and after birth. This finding highlight the important role of primary care providers in assessing for both anaemia and depressive symptomatology together, given the relationship between the two. Treating or preventing anaemia may help to prevent postnatal depression.
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