Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Pregnancy and Before

Maternal Mental Health

History of Post-Partum Depression

Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, are common during and after pregnancy. However, they are often undiagnosed as many of the signs and symptoms, such as fatigue, are commonly observed with motherhood. Mental health disorders can cause substantial suffering, and interfere with the lives of those affected and their families.


According to the Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN), in 2016, just under one quarter of new mothers (23.7% (22.6%, 25.0%) reported a mental health concern during their pregnancy. Of those who reported a mental health issue, the most commonly reported concerns related to anxiety (67.4%) and depression (51.4%).§

In Ontario, 16.9% (16.7%, 17.1%)) of new mothers reported a mental health concern, which is significantly lower than Simcoe Muskoka. While anxiety and depression were also the most commonly reported mental health concerns in pregnant mothers across Ontario, anxiety was reported significantly less often when compared to Simcoe Muskoka.


The proportion of new mothers in Simcoe Muskoka who reported mental health concerns during pregnancy has significantly increased over time; from 20.2% (19.0%, 21.3%) in 2013 to 23.8% (22.6%, 25.0%) in 2016. A similar, significant increase was observed for the province of Ontario overall.



In Simcoe Muskoka, 16.0% (15.0%, 17.1%) of new mothers reported anxiety during their pregnancy in 2016. Anxiety was significantly more common in younger women than older women, with 25.4% (22.3%, 28.6%) of 15-24 year old new mothers and between 14% and 15% of new mothers aged 25-34 and 35-49 years reporting anxiety during pregnancy, respectively.



In 2016, 12.2% (11.3%, 13.1%) of new mothers in Simcoe Muskoka reported depression during their pregnancy. Depression was significantly more common in younger women when compared to older women, with 22.0% (19.2%, 25.1%) of new mothers 15-24 years old reporting depression during pregnancy, compared with 10.5% (9.4%, 11.5%) of women aged 25-34 years and 10.4% (8.5%, 12.6%) of women aged 35-49 years.


Over half (60.0%) of new mothers who reported feeling depressed during their pregnancy also reported feelings of anxiety.

History of Post-Partum Depression

Having a history of post-partum depression increases the risk for post-partum depression associated with current pregnancy by up to 30%†. In 2016, approximately one in twenty (5.3% (4.5%, 6.2%) new mothers in Simcoe Muskoka who had previously given birth reported a history of post-partum depression. This is significantly higher than the provincial average of 3.8% (3.7%, 3.9%)

of multiparous women reporting a history of post-partum depression. The reported rate of post-partum depression in women with previous births has varied from 2013 (5.7%) to 2016 (5.3%) in Simcoe Muskoka. For Ontario as a whole, the rate has increased from 2.2% (2.1%, 2.3%) in 2014 to 3.8% in 2016 (3.7%, 3.9%).


There was no real difference in the proportion of women with a previous pregnancy who reported a history of post-partum depression across age groups.

For more information, please see the Parents & Parent-To-Be section on the health unit’s website.

Technical Notes

§More than one mental health concern can be reported by each pregnant woman.

† Steward DE, Robertson E, Dennis C-L, Grace S, Wallington T. Postpartum Depression: Literature Review of Risk Factors and Interventions. 2003.