New Model to Predict Postpartum Depression

Spanish researchers just found and developed a model to predict which mothers are most at risk for postpartum depression.

From Science Daily:

The experts studied data on 1,397 Spanish women who gave birth between December 2003 and October 2004 in seven hospitals in Spain, and devised various models that can predict — with an 80% success rate — which mothers run the risk of developing depression during the first weeks after giving birth….

The researchers used artificial neuronal networks and extracted a series of risk factors highlighted in previous studies — the extent of social support for the mother, prior psychiatric problems in the family, emotional changes during the birth, neuroticism and polymorphisms in the serotonin transport gene (genes with high levels of expression lead to an increased risk of developing the illness).

They also discovered two protection factors that reduce the risk of depression — age (the older the woman the lower her chance of depression), and whether or not a woman has worked during pregnancy (which reduces the risk). The researcher points out that: “it can be seen that these factors are relevant in the neuronal networks, but not by using other statistical methods.” The path is now clear for future studies to corroborate these findings.

I spotted this piece of news in the Expecting Words blog.