Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research

Advancing Applied MCH Research

Preventing Postpartum Depression in high-risk Pregnant Latinas: Effects on Maternal and Infant Health

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Project Number: R40 MC 02497-04
Grantee: The George Washington University
Department/Center: Department of Psychology
Project Date: 01/01/2004

Final Report

Preventing Postpartum Depression in high-risk Pregnant Latinas: Effects on Maternal and Infant Health Final Report (PDF) Exit Disclaimer

Principal Investigator

Huynh-Nhu Le, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
2125 G Street, N.W.
Washington, DC  20052
Phone: (202) 994-6808


  • Women/Maternal
  • Prenatal
  • Perinatal/Infancy (0-12 months)


  • Hispanic/Latino


The proposed project is a second resubmission (R40 MC 00346-01) to the Maternal and Child Health Research Program IX (Intervention and Program Development and Evaluation), Goal 2.5.1: "Conduct randomized controlled studies of the effectiveness of the content of prenatal care, including psychological aspects of care." This application describes a four-year research program that develops, revises, and tests an intervention aimed at preventing the onset of maternal depression among high-risk, low-income, Spanish-speaking Latina immigrant women receiving prenatal care at Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care, a community-based prenatal clinic in Washington, D.C. The Mothers and Babies course is a cognitive-behavioral intervention aimed at teaching women mood regulation skills to prevent the onset of major depressive episodes. This 12-week intervention has been shown to be effective in Spanish-speaking women in the San Francisco, CA area but has not yet been tested in the Washington, D.C. area and among the New Latina women, of predominantly Central American (El Salvadoran) backgrounds. This intervention will be shortened to 8-weeks and compared to an existing 8-week prenatal course currently offered as the standard of care by the Mary's Center; their prenatal course provides content regarding emotional and physical changes during pregnancy, birth, and delivery, but with minimal emphasis on mood. In addition, 3 booster sessions will be provided for the intervention participants during the first postpartum year. Six cohorts of approximately 35 women will be randomly assigned to the preventive intervention condition (Mothers and Babies course; n = 105) or standard of care (existing prenatal classes; n = 105). Longitudinal data will be collected on all participating women for one year following the completion of the prenatal courses, including data on their psychological and physical health, maternal-infant interaction, and stress. This study will provide much needed data on the importance of the prenatal period as an opportunity to prevent postpartum depression in an under-represented, high-risk population as well as to examine the impact of these interventions on the mental health of these women and their infants.


Listed is descending order by year published.

Hochhausen L, Perry DF, Le HN. Neighborhood context and acculturation among Central American immigrants. J Immigr Minor Health. 2010 Oct;12(5):806-9.

Lara MA, Navarro C, Navarrete L, Le HN. Retention rates and potential predictors in a longitudinal randomized controlled trial of postpartum depression. Salud Mental. 2010 Sep-Oct;33(5):429-36.

Le HN, Perry DF, Ortiz G. The postpartum depression screening scale-Spanish version: examining the psychometric properties and prevalence of risk for postpartum depression. J Immigr Minor Health. 2010 Apr;12(2):249-58.

Le HN, Zmuda J, Perry DF, Muñoz RF. Transforming an evidence-based intervention to prevent perinatal depression for low-income Latina immigrants. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2010 Jan;80(1):34-45.

Sheng X., Le HN., Perry DF. Perceived satisfaction with social support and depressive symptoms in perinatal Latinas. J Transcult Nurs. 2010 Jan;21(1):35-44.

Lara MA, Le HN, Letechipia G, Hochhausen L. Prenatal depression in Latinas in the U.S. and Mexico. Matern Child Health J. 2009 Jul;13(4):567-76.

Le HN, Perry DF, Sheng X. Using the internet to screen for postpartum depression. Matern Child Health J. 2009 Mar;13(2):213-21.

Hochhausen L, Perry DF, Le HN. Neighborhood context and acculturation among Central American immigrants. J Immigr Minor Health. 2010 Oct;12(5):806-9. Epub 2008 Oct 24.

Le HN, Lara MA, Perry DF. Recruiting Latino women in the U.S. and women in Mexico in postpartum depression prevention research. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2008 Jun;11(2):159-69. Epub 2008 May 28.

Stuart EA, Perry DF, Le HN, Ialongo N. Estimating intervention effects of prevention programs: accounting for noncompliance. Prev Sci. 2008 Dec;9(4):288-98. Epub 2008 Oct 9.

Le HN, Boyd RC. Prevention of major depression: early detection and early intervention in the general population. Clin Neuropsychiatry. 2006 Feb;3(1):6-22.

Boyd RC, Le HN, Somberg R. Review of screening instruments for postpartum depression. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2005 Sep;8(3):141-53. Epub 2005 Sep 5. Review. PubMed PMID: 16133785.


Depression, Pregnancy, Parent-Child Relationship, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Stress, Prenatal Care, Immigrant Populations

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