Perinatal mental health: how nordic data sources have contributed to existing evidence and future avenues to explore

Maria A. Karalexi*, Malin Eberhard-Gran, Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir, Hasse Karlsson, Trine Munk-Olsen, Alkistis Skalkidou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

45 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Perinatal mental health disorders affect a significant number of women with debilitating and potentially life-threatening consequences. Researchers in Nordic countries have access to high quality, population-based data sources and the possibility to link data, and are thus uniquely positioned to fill current evidence gaps. We aimed to review how Nordic studies have contributed to existing evidence on perinatal mental health. Methods: We summarized examples of published evidence on perinatal mental health derived from large population-based longitudinal and register-based data from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Results: Nordic datasets, such as the Danish National Birth Cohort, the FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study, the Icelandic SAGA cohort, the Norwegian MoBa and ABC studies, as well as the Swedish BASIC and Mom2B studies facilitate the study of prevalence of perinatal mental disorders, and further provide opportunity to prospectively test etiological hypotheses, yielding comprehensive suggestions about the underlying causal mechanisms. The large sample size, extensive follow-up, multiple measurement points, large geographic coverage, biological sampling and the possibility to link data to national registries renders them unique. The use of novel approaches, such as the digital phenotyping data in the novel application-based Mom2B cohort recording even voice qualities and digital phenotyping, or the Danish study design paralleling a natural experiment are considered strengths of such research. Conclusions: Nordic data sources have contributed substantially to the existing evidence, and can guide future work focused on the study of background, genetic and environmental factors to ultimately define vulnerable groups at risk for psychiatric disorders following childbirth.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)423-432
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • longitudinal dataset
  • national registers
  • Nordic countries
  • Perinatal mental health
  • Pregnancy
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Female
  • Registries
  • Mental Health
  • Cohort Studies
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries/epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Perinatal mental health: how nordic data sources have contributed to existing evidence and future avenues to explore'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this