Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Depression Screening Urged for Pregnant Women, New Mothers

Increased screening of pregnant women and new mothers for major depression and conflicts with intimate partners may help identify women at risk for suicide, a University of Michigan Health System-led analysis of federal data concluded. Findings were published online November 7 in General Hospital Psychiatry.

The study analyzed five years of suicide data from the National Violent Death Reporting System. Only a small percentage of women who take their own lives are pregnant or have recently given birth, but their frequent interactions with the health care system provide important opportunities for clinicians to intervene if risk factors are better understood, the researchers said. Among their findings: pregnant and postpartum women had a much higher incidence of conflicts with intimate partners than their counterparts, and Hispanic women were more likely than other ethnic groups to take their own lives when pregnant or soon after giving birth.

For more information on pregnancy and mental health, see Psychological Aspects of Women's Health Care: The Interface Between Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Second Edition, from American Psychiatric Publishing.

(Image: Yaro/


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