New mothers who have a family history of psychiatric disorders appear to have almost double the risk of postpartum depression than new mothers without such a family history, suggests a meta-analysis published today in JAMA Psychiatry.
The findings point to “the potential for a quick and low-cost assessment of [postpartum depression] risk in clinical practice using only 2 self-reported questions: history of personal and family psychiatric disorders,” wrote Mette-Marie Zacher Kjeldsen, M.Sc., of Aarhus University, Alessio Bricca, Ph.D., of the University of Southern Denmark, and colleagues.
The researchers began by conducting a literature search of articles in PubMed, Embase, and PsychINFO. They specifically searched for case-control and cohort studies that examined the association between family history of any psychiatric disorder and postpartum depression.
A total of 26 studies were included in the analysis, containing information on 100,877 postpartum women from 18 countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. Most of the studies (23 of 26) relied on self-reported questionnaires to assess family history of psychiatric disorders, the authors noted.
“The primary analysis showed increased odds of [postpartum depression] when having family history of psychiatric disorders (odds ratio = 2.08), corresponding to a relative risk of 1.79,” Zacher Kjeldsen, Bricca, and colleagues wrote.
“Family history of psychiatric disorders is a strong risk factor for postpartum depression, which ideally can be identified through self-report already during pregnancy and enable timely and targeted preventive initiatives,” they concluded.
For related information, see the Psychiatric News special report “Stress and Distress During Pregnancy—How to Protect Both Mother and Child.”
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