"Risk Factors for Antenatal Depression, Post-Natal Depression & Parenting Stress"

According to Doctors Bronwyn Leigh of Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital Austin Health in Heidelberg Heights and Jeannette Milgrom, one of the authors of “Treating Postnatal Depression” — of the University of Melbourne:

The strongest predictor of whether or not a woman would have postnatal depression was whether she was depressed shortly before giving birth.

Furthermore, postpartum depression was the only significant risk factor for high levels of parenting stress.

To date, research and treatment efforts have targeted postnatal depression, the researchers note, but less is known about risk factors for antenatal depression and early parenting stress. The study identified 7 significant risk factors for prenatal (antenatal) depression — the strongest were antenatal anxiety, low self esteem and low levels of social support.

The most significant risk factor which determined whether a woman would report postpartum depression was whether she experienced prenatal depression and the only risk factor for parenting stress was postpartum depression.

“Targeted interventions for antenatal and postnatal depression may reduce both the symptom severity and incidence of perinatal depression and assist in the amelioration or prevention of early parenting stress,” the researchers conclude. (Source: BMC Psychiatry published online 4/18/08)

Click here for Reuters report of this study
Click here for a more detailed review of the study

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