Study Screened For Post-Partum Depression, Examined Positive Findings

A study by Katherine L. Wisner, M.D., M.S., and colleagues screened postpartum women for depression and examined positive screening findings to determine the timing of the episode’s onset, along with the rate and intensity of self-harm thoughts. (Online First)

According to the results, 10,000 mothers were screened with positive findings in 1,396 women (14 percent): of  these, 826 (59.2 percent) completed the home visits and 147 (10.5 percent) completed a telephone diagnostic interview. More episodes of depression began post-partum (40.1 percent), followed by during pregnancy (33.4 percent) and before pregnancy (26.5 percent). In this group, 19.3 percent of the women had self-harm ideation. The most common primary diagnoses were unipolar depressive disorders (68.5 percent) and almost two-thirds had co-morbid anxiety disorders and 22.6 percent had bipolar disorders.

“Although centralized depression screening by telephone as in this study is feasible in the early postpartum period, the challenge is to design a therapeutic program to support and retain women through diagnostic evaluation and treatment to maternal recovery and optimal function,” the study concludes.

(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online March 13, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.87.