Prevention of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a relatively common problem, affecting between 10% and 15% of women after delivery. Although it is difficult to reliably predict which women in the general population will experience postpartum mood disturbance, it is possible to identify certain subgroups of women who are more vulnerable to postpartum affective illness. Women who have had one episode of postpartum depression have about a 50% chance of experiencing another episode of PPD after a subsequent pregnancy. The extent to which a history of depression (prior to pregnancy) influences risk is less clear, but some studies indicate that between 30% and 50% will suffer from recurrent depression during the postpartum period. Several investigators have recently explored the potential efficacy of prophylactic interventions in these populations of women at risk.