Postpartum depression may continue for 3 years after delivery

Study by researchers at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) suggests women with mood disorders, gestational diabetes may have a higher risk


NIH parentalA new study has has found that approximately 1 in 4 experienced high levels of depressive symptoms at some point in the three years after giving birth.

The study of 5,000 women was conducted by researchers at National Institutes of Health (NIH). The rest of the women experienced low levels of depression throughout the three-year span.

NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) conducted the study, which has appeared in the journal ‘Pediatrics’.

American Academy of Pediatrics suggests pediatricians screen mothers for postpartum depression at well-child visits at one, two, four and six months after childbirth.

Four trajectories

Scientists have found four trajectories of postpartum depressive symptoms and the factors that may increase a woman’s risk for elevated symptoms.

The study’s findings suggest that extending screening for postpartum depressive symptoms for at least two years after childbirth may be beneficial.

Diane Putnick, Ph.D., the primary author and a staff scientist in the NICHD Epidemiology Branch, said, “Our study indicates that six months may not be long enough to gauge depressive symptoms.”

Putnick added: “These long-term data are key to improving our understanding of mom’s mental health, which we know is critical to her child’s well-being and development.”

Data from the Upstate KIDS study, which included babies born between 2008 and 2010 from 57 counties in New York State, was analysed by researchers. The study followed 5,000 women for three years after their children were born.

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Researchers studied women’s symptoms through a brief, five-item depression screening questionnaire. However, their study did not clinically diagnose depression in the women. Women with underlying conditions, such as mood disorders and/or gestational diabetes, were more likely to have higher levels of depressive symptoms that persisted throughout the study period.

They noted that the study participants were primarily white, non-Hispanic women. Putnick said future studies should include a more diverse, broad population to provide more inclusive data on postpartum depression.

(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)’

Disclaimer: This story including advice/suggestions provides only generic information. It is not at all a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always have a consultation with a specialist or your doctor for more information. The OnLook never claim responsibility for this information.

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