The “landmark” results emphasize the importance of depression screening

Summary: Researchers call for postnatal depression risk screening for women with persistent depression while still pregnant.

Source: University of Queensland

University of Queensland researchers are calling for perinatal depression (PND) screening for all women during pregnancy, after finding that women with persistent depression are at high risk of developing the condition.

Ph.D. candidate, Dr Jacqueline Kiewa, from UQ’s Child Health Research Centre, compared the perinatal experiences of women with major depression across their lifetime and found that almost three-quarters of them had at least one episode of PND .

“Of the 7,182 study participants, 5,058 (70%) experienced perinatal depression,” Dr Kiewa said.

People who experienced perinatal depression, either during pregnancy or six months after giving birth, were more likely to experience severe, complex and frequent depressive episodes and an earlier onset of symptoms.

“These women were more likely to have other psychiatric illnesses such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and were less responsive to antidepressants,” Dr Kiewa said.

People who experienced perinatal depression, either during pregnancy or six months after giving birth, were more likely to experience severe, complex and frequent depressive episodes and an earlier onset of symptoms. The image is in the public domain

The research found they were also more likely to experience severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Dr. Kiewa described the findings as troubling.

“In Australia, PND is a leading cause of illness in women giving birth and puts children at risk of developing cognitive and emotional problems,” she said.

Dr. Kiewa said Australian women of non-European and Indigenous descent and those with a history of trauma were at higher risk of PND.

“Some of the features we identified suggest environmental influences as a cause of PND in women with depression, while others point to genetic and biological reasons that may be specific to women and pregnancy,” she said.

“Very few PND studies have considered whether the mothers have ADHD or other psychiatric illnesses.”

“That’s why it’s important that screening for perinatal depression is included in all perinatal exams.”

The research is published in the journal BMJ Open.

About this depression research news

Author: Press Office
Source: University of Queensland
Contact: Press Office – University of Queensland
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Open access
“Lifetime prevalence and correlates of perinatal depression in a case cohort study of depression” by Jacqueline Kiewa et al. BMJ Open


Summary

Lifetime prevalence and correlates of perinatal depression in a case cohort study of depression

Targets

This study aimed to assess the prevalence, timing of onset and duration of perinatal depression (PND) symptoms in depressed women, according to whether they had a history of depression before the first perinatal period. In addition, we sought to identify the biopsychosocial correlates of perinatal symptoms in women with depression.

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Design and setting

The Australian Genetics of Depression Study is an online case cohort study of the etiology of depression. For a number of variables, women with depression reporting significant perinatal depressive symptoms were compared with women with lifetime depression who did not experience perinatal symptoms.

participants

In a large sample of parous women with major depressive disorder (n=7182), we identified two subgroups of PND cases with and without a history of depression (n=2261; n=878, respectively).

Primary and secondary outcome measures

The primary outcome measure was a positive screen for PND on the lifetime version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Descriptive measures reported lifetime prevalence, timing of onset, and duration of PND symptoms. There were no secondary outcome measures.

results

The prevalence of PND among parous women was 70%. Most women reported at least one perinatal episode with both prenatal and postnatal symptoms. Among women who experienced depression before their first pregnancy, PND cases were significantly 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 maltreatment emotional (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.7, p=0.005) .

Conclusions

The majority of parous women with lifetime depression in this study experienced PND, associated with more complex and severe depression. The results highlight the importance of perinatal assessments of depressive symptoms, especially for women with a history of depression or adverse childhood experiences.

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