"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Depression while pregnant linked to long-term suicide risk

January 11, 2024 – Two recent studies of ladies living in Sweden suggest that any woman who suffers from depression during or after pregnancy has a better and longer risk of suicide, no matter her psychiatric history.

Women who’re diagnosed with depression while pregnant or who’re treated for depression inside a yr of giving birth are thrice more more likely to experience suicidal behavior than pregnant women who aren’t affected by depression during these periods, in line with the outcomes published on Tuesday JAMA network opened.

Perinatal depression affects as much as 1 in 5 pregnant women within the US, and in 2021 there have been almost 3.7 million live births nationwide, indicating an increased risk of suicide amongst a whole bunch of hundreds of ladies annually.

Researchers analyzed the likelihood of suicidal behavior in women with perinatal depression in comparison with pregnant women of the identical age with an identical due date who didn’t suffer from depression. Suicidal behavior included attempting or completing suicide. The study followed 925,061 pregnant women living in Sweden for as much as 18 years after giving birth and in addition included an evaluation comparing the ladies with perinatal depression with their sisters who didn’t have perinatal depression.

For the study, researchers defined perinatal depression as a primary depression diagnosis documented while pregnant or a prescription for an antidepressant filled inside one yr of birth. A complete of 86,551 women within the study met depression criteria and all gave birth between 2001 and 2017.

The highest risk of unnatural death occurred within the yr after diagnosis but remained higher for as much as 18 years, the duration of the study.

The researchers said in a news release that psychiatric treatment mustn’t be stopped while pregnant and emphasized the importance of screening for depression before and after birth.

A second study that also examined much of the identical data on women with perinatal depression in Sweden was published on Wednesday BMJ, the journal of the British Medical Association. It was shown that the increased risk of suicide in women with perinatal depression couldn’t be explained solely by family aspects (many psychiatric illnesses have a family history) and that a psychiatric illness that existed before pregnancy could also not explain the increased risk of suicide.

The second study showed that girls with perinatal depression were almost twice as more likely to die from natural or unnatural causes as pregnant women who didn’t suffer from the disease.

A press release summarizing the findings said the incidence of suicide “is rare, but women with perinatal depression were more than six times more likely to die by suicide and more than six times more likely to die by accident.” than in women who didn’t suffer from perinatal depression.”, in line with the Summary from that BMJ Press office.

“This finding was not surprising, as depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in the postpartum period,” said the researcher BMJ Study authors wrote. They said: “For groups at high risk of perinatal depression, early detection and treatment is needed to prevent fatal outcomes.”