To summarize: Researchers are calling for postpartum depression risk screening for women with persistent depression during pregnancy.
resource: Queensland university
Researchers at the University of Queensland are calling for all women to be screened for perinatal depression (PND) during pregnancy after finding that women with persistent depression are at high risk for the condition.
Dr Jacqueline Kiewa, PhD candidate at the UQ Centre for Child Health Research, compared the perinatal experiences of women with lifelong major depression and found that nearly three quarters of them had at least one episode of PND.
“Of the 7,182 participants in this study, 5,058 (70 percent) had perinatal depression,” Dr. Kiewa said.
Those who experienced perinatal depression during pregnancy or within six months of giving birth were more likely to experience severe, complex and frequent depressive episodes and earlier symptoms.
“These women were more likely to have other psychiatric disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and were less responsive to antidepressants,” Dr. Kiewa said.
They were also more likely to experience severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, the study found.
Dr Kiewa described the findings as worrying.
“In Australia, PND is the leading cause of disease in women giving birth and puts children at risk for cognitive and emotional problems,” she said.
Australian women of non-European and Aboriginal ancestry and women with a history of trauma were at higher risk for PND, Dr Kiewa said.
“Some of the features we identified suggest that environmental influences are responsible for PND in depressed women, while others point to genetic and biological causes that may be specific to women and pregnancy,” she said.
“Few PND studies have considered whether mothers have ADHD or other psychiatric disorders.”
“That’s why it’s important to include perinatal depression screening in all perinatal exams.”
The study was published in the journal BMJ Open.
About This Depression Research News
author: News office
resource: Queensland university
touch: Press Office – University of Queensland
picture: Image is in the public domain
Original research: Open access.
“Lifetime prevalence and associations of perinatal depression in a depression case cohort study” by Jacqueline Kiewa et al. BMJ Open
Lifetime prevalence and associations of perinatal depression in a depression case cohort study
This study aimed to assess the prevalence, onset time, and duration of perinatal (PND) depressive symptoms in women with depression, according to whether they had a history of depression prior to their first perinatal period. We further sought to determine the biopsychosocial correlates of perinatal symptoms in depressed women.
Design and Setup
The Australian Genetics of Depression Study is an online case-cohort study of the causes of depression. For a range of variables, women with depression who reported significant perinatal depressive symptoms were compared with women with lifetime depression who did not develop perinatal symptoms.
In a large number of multiparous women with major depressive disorder (n = 7182), we identified two subgroups of PND cases with and without prior history of depression (n = 2261; n = 878, respectively).
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The primary outcome measure was positive screening for PND on the lifetime version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Descriptive measures reported lifetime prevalence, time to onset, and duration of PND symptoms. There were no secondary outcome measures.
The prevalence of PND in multiparous women is 70%. Most women report at least one perinatal episode, with symptoms both prenatally and postpartum. Among women who experienced depression before their first pregnancy, PND cases were more likely to report more episodes of depression (OR=1.15 per additional episode of depression, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.17, p<0.001), non- European ancestry (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.1, p=0.03), severe nausea during pregnancy (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.6, p=0.006) and emotional abuse (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.7 , p=0.005) .
Most of the multiparous women with lifetime depression in the study experienced PND, which was associated with more complex and severe depression. The results underscore the importance of perinatal assessment of depressive symptoms, especially in women with a history of depression or adverse childhood experiences.