Depression During Pregnancy and the Puerperium




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Epidemiologic studies demonstrate a twofold higher rate of depression in women than in men. The childbearing years are a time of increased risk for onset of depression in women. Pregnancy, miscarriage or pregnancy loss, infertility, and the postpartum period may challenge a woman’s mental health. Virtually no life event rivals the neuroendocrine and psychosocial changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth. This paper provides a brief overview of depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Incidence, risk factors, and complications of depression during pregnancy and the puerperium are discussed to aid the clinician in early identification of at-risk patients. Treatment recommendations are also provided based on the available literature, clinical experience, and consideration of the possible special circumstances (i.e., breast-feeding) of this population of women.​

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(suppl 15):26–32