Early identification can lead to early intervention
Recent immigration, lack of partner support and pregnancy-induced hypertension are significant factors in predicting whether women will experience depressive symptoms soon after giving birth, says a University of Toronto researcher. U of T nursing professor Cindy-Lee Dennis and colleagues at the University of British Columbia have developed a model that predicts which mothers are at high risk of developing depressive symptoms in the early postpartum period. Their study, published in the fall issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, looked at almost 600 British Columbia mothers between April 2001 and January 2002.
Early detection is important, says Dennis, since low mood shortly after delivery is a reliable predictor of later developing postpartum depression. "Postpartum depression is a major public health issue that has significant consequences for the mother, child and family," says Dennis. "Fortunately, postpartum depression is amenable to supportive interventions early in the postpartum period. Previous studies have identified high-risk mothers at six to eight weeks after birth. Why wait until the mothers are depressed? Why not identify symptoms early so that so secondary preventive interventions can be initiated?"
Cindy-Lee Dennis | EurekAlert!
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