Maternal Mental Health and Peripartum Depression
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Maternal mental health (MMH) and peripartum depression (PPD) are considered as a major public health concern. PPD and peripartum mental illness (PMI) has been recognized since the fifth century BCE by Hippocrates. Peripartum, instead of perinatal, is the term internationally standardized today. Peripartum means “relating to the time immediately before and after birth”. It is a critical period in a woman’s life. A wider definition stretches the peripartum from preconception and pregnancy up to 1 year after delivery. During this period women experience several and significant normal or pathological physiological, hormonal, emotional and social changes. Peripartum vulnerability to mental disorders is now a well-known fact. It is hypothesized that this is due to both biological (hormonal), psychological and environmental (social) aspects. Teasing out each mechanism, knowing that they most certainly interact to buffer or potentiate each other is complex. We are currently unable to understand the exact processes involved and can only try to describe evidence-based heightened/lowered risk/protection factors and current state-of-the-art care.
Worldwide, it is estimated that the rate of mental disorders, primarily depression, is approximately 10% for women during pregnancy and 13% during the postpartum. In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), prevalence is even higher, ranging between 19% and 25%, associated to anxiety and lack of energy.
Early development and children’s health and mental health are at heightened risk of negative outcome in part due to lack of timely responses to infant needs and lack of adequate bonding. In the most severe cases, women can commit suicide and/or infanticide.
In order to provide evidence-based knowledge and scaffolding for prevention, early identification and efficacious management of PPD, the present chapter will describe maternal PPD. A secondary objective will be to stimulate creativity in different settings in favour of integrative, tailored, gender-sensitive, cost-effective programmes in order to promote biopsychosocial care for women and mothers, children and their families. Disseminating evidence to uphold better mental health for future generations is essential.
Antenatal anxiety and depression
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition
Extremely low birth weight
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale
Oestrogen receptor alpha gene
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Gamma aminobutyric acid A receptors
- HPA AXIS
Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist
Intimate partner violence
Low birth weigh
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
Monoamine oxidase A
Medium- and low-income countries
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
Neonatal intensive care unit
Positron emission tomography
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Peripartum mental illness
Postnatal adaptation syndrome
Paternal perinatal depression
Postpartum depressive symptoms
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- TH1 OR TH2
T helper cells type 1 or 2
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
World Health Organization
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