Intervention Fails to Reduce Risk of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum or postnatal depression (PND) is a major concern in the mental health field. Children raised by mothers with PND have four times greater risk of developing a social, emotional, or behavioral problem when compared to children raised by mothers without PND. Further, children of PND mothers have increased risk for attachment issues in early childhood that can carry over into subsequent developmental stages. Despite the evidence of the significant impact on a child’s mental health, no one intervention strategy has appeared to be effective at reducing PND symptoms in mothers.

France recently attempted to create a program designed to address the emotional and social needs of mothers during pregnancy and in the first two years after they gave birth. The goal of the program they developed, entitled  CAPEDP, was to provide home-based visits for high risk pregnant women and to promote infant healthcare. To test the effectiveness of CAPEDP, Romain Dugravier of the Perinatal Unit of the Center Hospital of Sainte-Anne in France recently conducted an examination of the results of a CAPEDP implementation involving 440 pregnant women.

The participants were all aged 25 and under and were to be first time mothers. In addition, all of the women had at least one significant risk factor of low socio-economic status, low education or anticipating of being a single parent. Each woman was visited at home beginning in her 35th week of pregnancy and was provided intervention services until her child turned two. Results of CAPEDP were compared to a control group of women who received treatment as usual.

The results revealed that CAPEDP, like many other established early childhood intervention programs, was highly ineffective at decreasing PND in the mothers. Dugravier did discover, however, that the women with only one risk factor saw some moderate improvement. Women with mild prenatal depression who were planning on raising their child with the father and who had high levels of education also some reduced risk for PND as a result of the intervention.

These results underscore the importance of addressing PND in high risk groups, as current approaches seem to have little impact. Dugravier added, “Effective overall reduction of PND symptomatology for young, first-time mothers presenting additional psychosocial risk factors may require more tailored interventions.”

Reference:
Dugravier, R., Tubach, F., Saias, T., Guedeney, N., Pasquet, B., et al. (2013). Impact of a manualized multifocal perinatal home-visiting program using psychologists on postnatal depression: The CAPEDP randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72216. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072216

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  • Jemma

    Jemma

    October 3rd, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Don’t you think that there will be some families that will be terribly offended if you go in implying that the mother is at high risk for deevloping post partum depression and that this could make her more resistant to accepting help?
    You know that there are people out there like this, who would turn away resources that are being offered to them just to spite you.

  • karleigh

    karleigh

    October 4th, 2013 at 3:55 AM

    Just because you try to step in and intervene there is no way to predict what a woman’s hormones are going to do after pregnancy.
    So even if she has love and support, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this could keep depression at bay

  • LARRY

    LARRY

    October 4th, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    ITS ALWAYS THE WORST FOR THOSE MOST IN DANGER ISNT IT?EVEN INTERVENTION PROGRAMS NEED TO BE SUPER-TUNED TO HELP THEM.BUT I CERTAINLY DO HOPE MORE PROGRESS WILL ENSURE HELP FOR EVEN THOSE MOST BURDENED WITH FACTORS THAT PUSH THEM TO PND.

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