New research has found that postnatal depression (PND) may be prevented for some women by treating and managing depression and anxiety earlier in life.
The study, conducted by Dr Catherine Chojenta from the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, developed a model of predictors for PND by analysing psychological, health and social factors.
“Women with postnatal anxiety were 13 times more likely to develop PND concurrently, and if they had suffered antenatal depression they were at nine times the risk,” Dr Chojenta said.
“Women who had PND previously were five times more likely to experience symptoms following the birth of a subsequent child, and women who reported a history of depression were one and a half times more likely to encounter PND.”
Dr Chojenta said her findings reinforce the need for intervention to target mental health problems in adolescence and early adulthood.
“This would result in more positive maternal and infant outcomes while helping to tackle the cycle of poor mental health across the lifespan,” Dr Chojenta said.
“We encourage women to talk to their doctor or midwife about any past or present mental health concerns so they can access help as soon as they need it,” she concluded.
Read more here: The University of Newcastle.