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

ounders of prior depression and relevant socio-demographic characteristics (maternal age, relationship status, and employment status in early pregnancy).

Dr Hannah Woolhouse of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Victoria, Australia and co-author of the paper said:

"Depression after childbirth has received a lot of attention in recent decades. Known risk factors for developing postnatal depression include a history of depression, poor partner relationships, stressful life events/social health issues, low social support, and low income. Our findings indicate that intimate partner violence is very common among women reporting postnatal depressive symptoms, and may be an important factor for health professionals to consider in managing postnatal distress.

"In both the UK and Australia, universal screening for depressive symptoms in the first few months after childbirth is now recommended as part of routine perinatal care. However we found that most of the women reporting postnatal depressive symptoms first reported this at six months postpartum or later.

"This finding has major implications for clinical practice as many women who develop depression after six months will be missed. Health professionals should regularly enquire about a woman's mental health in the 12 months after birth, rather than at one specific time point."

Professor Philip Steer, Editor of BJOG added:

"This study shows that pregnancy and the postnatal period is a good time to identify and support women who experience both depression and partner violence."


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Contact: Naomi Weston
nweston@rcog.org.uk
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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