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Postpartum Mood Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment Guidelines

Ruta Nonacs, M.D., Ph.D., and Lee S. Cohen, M.D.

Published: June 1, 1998

Article Abstract

Mood disturbance occurs commonly during the postpartum period. The symptoms may be transientand relatively mild (as in postpartum blues) or may be associated with significant impairment offunctioning (as in postpartum depression and puerperal psychosis). Despite the prevalence of postpartummood disorders, depressive symptoms that emerge during the puerperium are often overlooked.Puerperal affective illness places the mother at risk for the development of recurrent depression andhas also been associated with significant long-term effects on child development and behavior. Therefore,the prompt recognition and efficacious treatment of puerperal mood disorders are essential inorder to avoid adverse outcomes for both mother and infant. This article discusses the evaluation ofpostpartum mood disturbance and offers guidelines for the treatment of affective illness during thepuerperium.

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Volume: 59

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