Prevention of Depression during and after Pregnancy
Depression During and After Pregnancy Can Be Prevented, National Panel Says. Here’s how.
Perinatal depression, as it is called, is estimated to affect between 180,000 and 800,000 American mothers each year and up to 13 present of women worldwide. The condition increases a woman’s risk of becoming suicidal or harming her infant, the panel reported. It also increases the likelihood that babies will be born premature or has low birth weight, and can impair a mother’s ability to bond with or care for her child. The panel reported that children of mothers who had perinatal depression have more behaviour problems, cognitive difficulties and mental illness.
The panel emphasized that perinatal depression is shouldn’t be confused with “baby blues” — the tears, irritability, fatigue, and anxiety that many women experience after delivery but which evaporates within 10 days.
The evaluated research was conducted by the panel on numerous possible prevention methods, including physical activity, education, infant sleep advice, yoga, expressive writing, omega-3 fatty acids and antidepressants. Several showed some promise, including physical activity and programs in Britain and the Netherlands involving home visits by midwives or other providers. But only counselling demonstrated enough scientific evidence of benefit.
Women receiving one of two forms of counselling were 39 present less likely than those who didn’t to develop perinatal depression. One approach involved cognitive behavioural therapy, helping women navigate their feelings and expectations to create healthy, supportive environments for their children. The other involved interpersonal therapy, including coping skills and role-playing exercises to help manage stress and relationship conflicts.