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Some Characteristics Unique to Depression Before, After Birth

MONDAY, Feb. 25, 2019 -- Several unique characteristics are linked with depression at different time points before and after giving birth, according to a study published online Feb. 5 in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.

Anna Wikman, Ph.D., from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues assessed characteristics related to background and lifestyle, pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum of different perinatal depression (PND) trajectories among 2,466 women participating in a population-based cohort study.

The researchers identified five trajectory groups of depressive symptom onset using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale ≥13 (pregnancy) or ≥12 points (postpartum): healthy (60.6 percent), pregnancy depression (8.5 percent), early postpartum onset (10.9 percent), late postpartum onset (5.4 percent), and chronic depression (14.6 percent). Smoking before pregnancy, migraine, premenstrual mood symptoms, intimate partner violence, interpersonal trauma, negative delivery expectations, pregnancy nausea, and symphysiolysis were characteristics associated with all PND trajectories. Background characteristics, such as younger age, lower education, and unemployment, were primarily associated with pregnancy depression and chronic depression. Early postpartum onset was associated with nulliparity, instrumental delivery, or a negative delivery experience.

"The findings suggest that different PND trajectories have divergent characteristics, which could be used to create individualized treatment options," the authors write.

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Posted: February 2019

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