Major Depressive Disorder

Postpartum Depression Can Be Detected, Prevented

By Wes J. Perry
The Medical Post, October 22, 1996

MADRID, SPAIN - Pregnant women at risk for postpartum depression can be detected in time to institute preventive measures say researchers at New York's Columbia University's department of psychiatry.

Dr. Veronika Solt headed a group which assessed 71 women for depression with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at four to six weeks following parturition. Twenty women (28%) had a positive depression score.

Charts of women with and without postpartum depression were compared with respect to social status, medical, obstetric and pregnancy history, delivery and infant characteristics.

She told the Tenth World Congress of Psychiatry here, that women who developed depression were significantly more likely to be single, to lack social support and have an unwanted pregnancy, compared to subjects who did not become depressed. The women also attended fewer prenatal visits, were more likely to attend their first prenatal visit after 20 weeks gestation, have delivery stressors and give birth to infants with lower Apgar scores and lower average birth-weights; those differences, too, were significantly different from the group of nondepressed women.

Dr. Solt said the prevalence of depression in the first six months following childbirth ranges from 7% to 15%, which warrants the identification of vulnerability factors to detect those at risk and institute timely preventive measures.

Copyright 1996 Maclean Hunter Publishing Limited
Reprinted with permission.

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