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History of mental illness linked to postpartum depression, PTSD

20 Oct 2020
Major research on postpartum depression to use new research app

Women with a history of mental illness may be at a greater risk of developing postpartum mood disorder, a new study has found.

Researchers enrolled 600 women, in whom a history of mental illness was assessed according to self-reports, a medical record review, and past prescriptions of psychiatric medications. The primary outcome was depression, defined as scoring ≥10 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with a score of ≥19 on the Perinatal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Questionnaire (PPQ), was set as a secondary outcome.

Six weeks postpartum, 390 women remained available for follow-up, of whom 16 percent (n=62) screened positive for depression, while 6 percent (n=24) were found to have PTSD. At 3 months postpartum, the respective prevalence rates of the mood disorders were 13 percent and 5 percent.

Time-adjusted generalized estimating equations showed that having a history of a mental illness was a significant risk factor for probable postpartum depression (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.12, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.30–3.47; p=0.003) and PTSD (adjusted OR, 3.15, 95 percent CI, 1.42–7.02; p=0.005).

Being nulliparous (p=0.029) and undergoing operative management of postpartum haemorrhage (p=0.030) were also risk factors for developing PTSD within 3 months after birth. No other predictors were found for postpartum depression, though having a low annual household income was of borderline significance (p=0.058).

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Stephen Padilla, 29 Sep 2020
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic appears to have quickened the acceptance of prescription digital therapeutics (PDT), or software that helps treat human disease, by clinicians and patients, particularly those suffering from mental health conditions, according to experts from one of the sessions at the 2020 Virtual Forum of the Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association (APACMed 2020).