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Depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence in the 12 months after childbirth
Date:12/7/2011

Forty percent of women who report depressive symptoms following birth also reported intimate partner violence finds a new study published today (7 December) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The study also found that most of the women reporting postnatal depressive symptoms first reported this at six months after birth or later.

Intimate partner violence (both physical and emotional abuse) in the perinatal period is associated with a range of physical and psychological health problems including adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, postnatal depression, and future behavioural problems for children.

This Australian study looked at 1305 nulliparous women. They were recruited from six public hospitals between 6 and 24 weeks of gestation. Written questionnaires were completed at recruitment and at 3, 6 and 12 months postpartum.

Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and intimate partner violence was assessed using the short version of the Composite Abuse Scale.

Information on depressive symptoms was collected at multiple time points, while data on intimate partner violence was only collected at the 12 month follow-up.

The study found that one in six women reported intimate partner violence in the year after having their first baby. Emotional violence was more common than physical violence (14% versus 8%).

Sixteen percent of women reported depressive symptoms in the 12 months postpartum, with most women first reporting depressive symptoms in the second 6 months after birth. Factors associated with postpartum depressive symptoms include: emotional abuse alone, physical abuse, depression in pregnancy and unemployment in early pregnancy.

The significant associations between intimate partner violence and depressive symptoms over the course of the first postpartum year persisted after adjusting for the known conf
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Contact: Naomi Weston
nweston@rcog.org.uk
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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