Tag: perinatal depression

Positive Associations between Premenstrual Disorders and Perinatal Depression

Researchers utilise data from Swedish nationwide registers of over 900 000 women

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Women affected by premenstrual disorders have a higher risk of perinatal depression compared with those who do not, according to research published March 28th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine. The relationship works both ways: those with perinatal depression are also more likely to develop premenstrual disorders after pregnancy and childbirth. This study suggests that a common mechanism might contribute to the two conditions.

Menstruating women experience cyclical hormone fluctuations through puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. Some women have difficult to manage symptoms of low mood and depression during these fluctuations. Between a fifth and a third of women are reportedly affected by premenstrual disorders and 11% of mothers suffer perinatal depression – depressive symptoms during pregnancy and up to 12 months after delivery.

Qian Yang and colleagues at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and University of Iceland used the Swedish nationwide registers from 2001 to 2018 and identified 84 949 women with perinatal depression and 849 482 unaffected women. The researchers matched the women on age and calendar year, and further controlled for demographic factors, smoking, BMI, parity and history of psychiatric disorders. Among women with perinatal depression, almost 3% had premenstrual disorders before pregnancy compared with 0.6% of matched unaffected women. Women with perinatal depression were also twice as likely to report premenstrual disorders when the menstruation resumed after childbirth, compared to those unaffected by perinatal depression.

The research sheds light on the association between the two conditions and supports a theory that they may share underlying biological mechanisms and/or risk factors. Understanding this association could help healthcare providers to better target support to women most likely to be affected.

The authors add, “This study reveals a strong bidirectional relationship between perinatal depression and premenstrual disorders, using data from over 900 000 pregnancies. The findings suggest that both disorders may exist on a continuum, and emphasise the importance of recognising these susceptibilities in clinical practice.”

Provided by PLOS

Clear Link between Autoimmune Disease and Perinatal Depression

This is a pseudo-colored image of high-resolution gradient-echo MRI scan of a fixed cerebral hemisphere from a person with multiple sclerosis. Credit: Govind Bhagavatheeshwaran, Daniel Reich, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health

Women with autoimmune disease are more likely to suffer from depression during pregnancy and after childbirth; conversely, women with a history of perinatal depression are at higher risk of developing autoimmune disease, according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet which is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Some of the most common autoimmune diseases are gluten intolerance (coeliac disease), autoimmune thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (MS). 

In the present study, researchers used data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register and identified all women who had given birth in Sweden between 2001 and 2013. Out of the resulting group of approximately 815 000 women and 1.3 million pregnancies, just over 55 000 women had been diagnosed with depression during their pregnancy or within a year after delivery. 

The researchers then compared the incidence of 41 autoimmune diseases in women with and without perinatal depression, controlling for familial factors such as genes and childhood environment by also including the affected women’s sisters.

Strongest association for MS

The results reveal a bidirectional association between perinatal depression and autoimmune thyroiditis, psoriasis, MS, ulcerative colitis, and coeliac disease. Overall, women with autoimmune disease were 30 per cent more likely to suffer perinatal depression. Conversely, women with perinatal depression were 30 per cent more likely to develop a subsequent autoimmune disease.

The association was strongest for the neurological disease MS, for which the risk was double in both directions. It was also strongest in women who had not had a previous psychiatric diagnosis.

“Our study suggests that there’s an immunological mechanism behind perinatal depression and that autoimmune diseases should be seen as a risk factor for this kind of depression,” says the study’s first author Emma Bränn, researcher at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet.

Can have serious consequences

The researchers will now continue to examine the long-term effects of depression during pregnancy and in the first year following childbirth.

“Depression during this sensitive period can have serious consequences for both the mother and the baby,” says Dr Bränn. “We hope that our results will help decision-makers to steer funding towards maternal healthcare so that more women can get help and support in time.”

Since this was an observational study, no conclusions on causality can be drawn.

The study was financed by Karolinska Institutet, Forte (the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare), the Swedish Research Councill and the Icelandic Research Fund. The researchers report no conflicts of interest.

Source: Karolinska Institutet

Perinatal Depression Triples the Risk of Suicidal Behaviour

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Maternal suicide is an alarming public health issue and the second most common cause of death during the postnatal period. New research from Karolinka Institutet in Sweden shows that mothers with clinically diagnosed perinatal depression had a three times higher risk of suicidal behaviour compared to mothers without perinatal depression. The findings were published in JAMA Network Open.

Some 13–36% of maternal deaths are attributable to suicide, and the consequences are devastating to the newborn and the family. Maternal suicide is linked to a complex interplay of risk factors, including history of psychiatric disorders, socioeconomic disparities, and inadequate access to healthcare service. It is of paramount importance to identify high-risk populations for preventing maternal suicide and suicidal attempt.

Our findings suggest that women with clinically diagnosed PND are at an increased risk of suicidal behavior, particularly within one year after PND yet throughout 18 years of follow-up. This highlights the pressing need for vigilant clinically monitoring and prompt intervention for this vulnerable population to prevent such devastating outcomes, regardless of pre-pregnancy history of psychiatric disorders.

Hang Yu, PhD student

In this nationwide population-matched cohort study with a maximal follow-up of 18 years, 86 551 women with PND from 2001 to 2017 and 865 510 unaffected women individually matched on age and calendar year at delivery. Sibling comparison was employed to account for familial confounding. It was found that women with a clinical diagnosis of PND have an elevated risk of suicidal behaviour compared to population-matched women or their full sisters without PND. Attenuated yet still substantially elevated risks were observed when comparing with full sisters without PND who share partial genetic and familial environmental factors with affected women. Importantly, such excess risk was apparent among women regardless of their history of psychiatric disorders, suggesting that PND is linked to an added risk of suicidal behaviour beyond that the risk associated with psychiatric disorders occurring before the perinatal period. Moreover, the risk elevations were particularly high shortly after the PND diagnosis, and despite of the rapid decline over time, remained throughout 18 years of follow-up.

Source: Karolinska Institutet