Exploring associations between perinatal depression, anxiety, and urinary oxytocin levels in Latinas

Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo, Kimberly D’Anna-Hernandez, Elinor M. Fujimoto, Cort A. Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perinatal depression has been associated with lower oxytocin (OT) levels. However, few studies have explored this topic in relation to Latinas who are at high risk of perinatal depression. The objective of this study was to explore these associations in Latinas. A total of 108 Latinas in the third trimester of pregnancy participated in the study. Depression and urinary OT levels were assessed in pregnancy and 6 weeks postpartum. Nonparametric tests were implemented to test the proposed associations. Results revealed that 28% of the participants had probable depression in pregnancy, and 23% at 6 weeks postpartum. OT levels significantly decreased from prenatal to postpartum in the whole sample; however, participants with probable prenatal depression did not exhibit a significant change in OT levels. Participants who were depressed or anxious at 6 weeks postpartum exhibited persistently higher mean OT levels over time. A distinct pattern of higher levels of OT in depressed Latinas suggests that OT levels may be an important neuroendocrine factor contributing to depressive and anxious symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-455
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Breastfeeding
  • Latinas
  • Oxytocin
  • Postpartum depression
  • Prenatal depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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