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Depression more common during pregnancy than after childbirth

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  • Ian Pitchford
    British Medical Journal bmj.com: http://bmj.com/ This issue s table of contents: http://bmj.com/content/vol323/issue7307/ Press Releases for this issue:
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2001
      British Medical Journal
      bmj.com: http://bmj.com/
      This issue's table of contents:
      Press Releases for this issue:

      eBMJ -- Press Releases
      Releases Saturday 4 August 2001
      No 7307 Volume 323

      Please remember to credit the BMJ as source when publicising an
      article and to tell your readers that they can read its full text on the
      journal's web site (http://bmj.com).

      If your story is posted on a website please include a link back to
      the source BMJ article (URL's are given under titles).


      (Cohort study of depressed mood during pregnancy and
      after childbirth)

      Depression during pregnancy is more common than
      postnatal depression, finds a study in this week's BMJ. As
      mood during pregnancy may affect the unborn child, more
      efforts need to be directed towards recognising and
      treating antenatal depression, report the authors.

      Over 9,000 pregnant women recorded their mood through
      pregnancy and after childbirth in a series of questionnaires.
      Any reported symptoms of depression were measured
      against a recognised depression scale.

      Depression scores were higher during pregnancy than after
      childbirth, with a peak at 32 weeks of pregnancy and a
      lowest value 8 months after childbirth. The severity and
      nature of reported symptoms did not differ before and
      after childbirth, suggesting that depression is no more likely
      after childbirth than it is during pregnancy, say the authors.

      Although postnatal depression has become a focus of
      concern, depression during pregnancy has been relatively
      neglected, say the authors. They call for urgent research
      into both the consequences for the child and the potential
      benefits of screening for, and treating, depression during
      pregnancy. "Offering treatment may be important for both
      the mother and the future wellbeing of the child and
      family," they conclude.


      Jonathan Evans, Consultant Senior Lecturer, Division of
      Psychiatry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
      Email: j.evans@...
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