Sleep Interventions During Pregnancy Reduce the Risk of Postpartum Depression

It should be no surprise that many women complain of disrupted sleep during pregnancy.  According to a recent study, approximately 28%-38% of women meet criteria for sleep deficiency during early pregnancy. (Sleep deficiency is defined as short sleep duration, insufficient sleep, [...]

Postpartum Psychosis Can be Prevented in Women at High Risk

It is well-established that women with a history of bipolar disorder or postpartum psychosis are at extremely high risk of postpartum psychiatric illness. Several studies have indicated that lithium prophylaxis can dramatically reduce the risk of postpartum relapse; however, the studies have varied in terms of the timing of prophylaxis, with some initiating treatment during pregnancy and others initiating treatment immediately after delivery.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry gives more information on the clinical management of these high risk populations.

CBT for the Prevention of Postpartum OCD

Given the prevalence of postpartum OCD and obsessive symptoms in women with postpartum depression, we should devote more time to this topic.  This is an informative and well-written article by Alice Wolton on postpartum OCD in Forbes.  In this piece, she mentions a recent study from Timpano and colleagues at the University of Miami where cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was used to prevent postpartum OCD. 

A Blood Test for Identifying Women at Risk for Postpartum Depression?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could identify women who were at risk for postpartum depression (PPD)?  Maybe if we could do that, we could actually prevent the depression from occurring.  Or at least, we could intervene in some way so that the depression would not significantly affect the mother and her family. 

Examining Modifiable Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

Approximately 10-15% of women will experience mood symptoms that meet criteria for a Major Depressive Episode during the postpartum period. However, as many as 50% of women may experience some level of depressive symptoms during the postpartum period. Recent evidence suggests that even depressive symptoms that do not qualify for a diagnosis of postpartum depression may have a negative impact on both mother and child. In spite of the fact that so many postpartum women will experience depressive symptoms, little research has been conducted in order to identify potentially modifiable factors that could reduce the risk of depressive symptoms or the development of a major depressive episode during this time.

Can We Identify Women at High Risk for Postpartum Psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis is rare, occurring in about 1 to 2 per 1000 women after delivery.  While there appears to be a strong link between postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder, it is estimated that about half of women who present with postpartum psychosis have no psychiatric history prior to delivery, making it difficult to identify those women who are at greatest risk for this illness.   A recent study, using data from the Swedish Medical Birth Registry, has examined possible risk factors that may be used to identify women at risk for postpartum psychosis.