Clinical presentation of postnatal and non-postnatal depressive episodes

C Cooper, Lisa Jones, E Dunn, L Forty, Mohammad Haque, Oluwafemi Oyebode, N Craddock, Ian Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The relationship of postnatal (postpartum) depression (PND) to episodes of depression occurring at other times is not well understood. Despite a number of studies of clinical presentation, there is little consistency in the literature. We have undertaken within- and between individual comparisons of the clinical presentation of postnatal (PN) and non-postnatal (NPN) depressive episodes in women with recurrent depression. Method. In a sample of well-characterized, parous women meeting DSM-IV and ICD-10 criteria for recurrent major depressive disorder, the clinical presentation of episodes of major depression with onset within 4 weeks of giving birth (PND group, n=50) were compared with (1) the nonpostnatal episodes of women with PND, and (11) episodes of major depression in parous women Who had not experienced episodes of mood disorder in relation to childbirth (NPND group, n = 132). In addition, the non-postriatal episodes of the PN D group of women were compared with the depressive episodes of the NPND group. Results. The small number of differences found between PN and NPN depressive episodes, such as reduced early morning wakening in postnatal episodes, are likely to be explicable by the context of having a new baby rather than by any difference in the nature of the underlying depression. Conclusions. The results do not point to substantial differences in clinical presentation between episodes of major depression occurring in relation to childbirth and at other times. Other avenues of research are therefore required to demonstrate a specific relationship between childbirth and depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1280
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2007


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