Women at risk for postpartum-onset major depression

Zachary N. Stowe, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


There is considerable evidence that the childbearing years represent a time when women are highly vulnerable to developing mood disorders. Prospective, cross-sectional, and retrospective studies have demonstrated that more than 10% of new adult mothers will experience a major depressive episode during the first postpartum year. Changes in the health care delivery system will result in increased pressure on the obstetrician/gynecologist to identify and treat women with postpartum-onset depression. Despite shortcomings in the available literature, prospective studies have identified risk factors for developing postpartum depression. Furthermore, the clear overlap between the normal sequelae of childbirth and the symptoms of major depression, including alterations in sleep, energy, libido, appetite, and body weight, underscores the need to develop guidelines for early identification. We furnish a brief overview of postpartum mood disorders with a primary focus on the antenatal and postnatal risk factors for developing postpartum depression. Based on the extant literature and our clinical experience, a set of recommendations for early identification and treatment is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-645
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Early identification
  • guidelines
  • postpartum depression
  • risk factors
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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