Postpartum Depression May Begin During Pregnancy
Researchers say there are three distinct subtypes of postpartum depression based on symptoms and when it begins. In particular, women who experienced symptoms during pregnancy may be at risk for more severe postpartum depression than those whose symptoms begin after birth, researchers have found.
The findings are from a new international research consortium called PACT (Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment), which includes more than 25 investigators in seven countries.
The clinical characteristics most relevant in defining the three subtypes were the timing of symptom onset (beginning during pregnancy or after birth), the severity of symptoms (including thoughts of suicide), a history of a previous mood disorder and whether or not a woman had medical complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
Learn more at thelancet.com, a British health website (search for “postpartum depression”).
Katherine Kopp is a freelance writer and editor in Chapel Hill.