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SALT LAKE CITY: A cohort study of more than 950,000 women found that women who experienced depression during pregnancy or childbirth were more likely to commit suicide than those without depression. Swedish Archives.

The elevated risk remained high during the 18-year follow-up period.

A study, published by JAMA Network OpenSuicidal behavior — including suicide attempts — is three times more likely for women with postpartum depression, they said. According to the National Institutes of Health, the birth period is broadly defined as the year before the birth of a child up to two years.

The researchers found that the risk was highest within a year of being diagnosed with postpartum depression – and was three times higher in women without depression. “The association was particularly large between women without a history of mental illness and women with a history of depression and women with a history of other mental illnesses.”

Although the risk of suicide has decreased over time, it is still twice as high among women without pregnancy-related depression.

The researchers said the findings “require careful clinical monitoring and intervention to prevent such catastrophic events in this vulnerable population.”

The second study, by Journal BMJHe observed death from any cause in those who experienced prenatal depression. Increased risk of death for postpartum depression, again prominent in the first year. “Suicide was rare,” he said, although the strongest association with death was suicide.

The study involved comparing 20,000 women with postpartum depression to their non-depressed siblings who gave birth at the same time. They did that to make sure there was no confounding genetic connection. The researchers found that sisters with depression were three times more likely to commit suicide than sisters without depression.

They said, “Even when family factors are taken into account, women with clinically diagnosed postpartum depression are at increased risk of death, particularly within the first year of diagnosis, and of suicide. Affected women, their families, and health professionals should be treated. Be aware of these serious health risks after postpartum depression. .

The New York Times looked back at the numbers and reported: “The average age at which women experienced postpartum depression was 31. They were more likely to live alone without illness, have a low income and formal education, have recently smoked and never given birth before, among other characteristics, the researchers reported.”

The Times reported that the women “are also more likely to have had a history of mental illness or suicide. But studies show that even if women have other mental health problems, postpartum depression increases the risk of suicide and death.”

According to San Francisco University Health, 9% of pregnancies involve some form of postpartum depression. The American Psychiatric Association emphasizes that it is treatable.

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Responsive 200Lois M. Collins

Lois M. Collins covers policies and research that affect families for the Deseret News.

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