Pregnancy and Depression: Two Studies Add to What is Known About Prenatal Depression in Moms and Dads
New Study Highlights Risk Factors for Prenatal Depression in Mothers
It wasn't that long ago that people had difficulty even grasping the concept of prenatal depression. ("What does she have to be depressed about? She's having a baby!")
Now it's common knowledge that as many as one in eight pregnant women experience depression at some point during pregnancy. And people know that biology, genetics, and environment can all play a role in perinatal mood disorders, as they do in other types of mood disorders.
A study published in the January 2010 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology contributes to what is known about depression during pregnancy by identifying the risk factors for depression during pregnancy.
These factors include maternal anxiety, life stress, a history of depression, a lack of social support, an unplanned pregnancy, domestic violence, lower income, lower education, smoking, single status, and poor relationship quality.
Because many of these factors may change over the course of a woman's pregnancy, the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists recommends that healthcare providers screen women for symptoms of depression during each trimester of pregnancy.
The Society of
Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada doesn't currently have such a recommendation on its books, according to Natalie
Wright, the SOGC's Director, Communication and Public Education. The SOGC only recommends that women be screened for symptoms of depression during pregnancy in very specific cases: when a mom-to-be is experiencing domestic violence, mastalgia (breast pain), or chronic pain.
When Dads Get Depressed During Pregnancy, Newborns More Likely to be Colicky
Screening fathers-to-be for prenatal depression seems like the logical next step. A study published in the July 1, 2009, issue of the medical journal Pediatrics found that paternal depression during pregnancy could be a risk factor for excessive infant crying (crying for more than three hours per day on more than three days during the past week).
Have you or your partner experienced depression during pregnancy? What advice would you offer to other parents or parents-to-be who are struggling?
PerinatalWeb.org: Perinatal Depression Resources: Resources related to perinatal depression (prenatal and postpartum depression) for both women and their healthcare providers.
Postpartum Progress: Women's Mental Health Resources: List of women's mental health treatment programs in Canada, the US, and Australia, as selected by the creators of this popular blog.
Depression in Pregnancy: Public Health Agency of Canada: Additional information about depression during pregnancy.