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J Affect Disord. 1993 Oct-Nov;29(2-3):201-11.

Thyroid and adrenal measures during late pregnancy and the puerperium in women who have been major depressed or who become dysphoric postpartum.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine 27599-7160.


Prior studies of thyroid, adrenal and mood measures during pregnancy and the puerperium, which we review, have not examined hormone-mood relationships over the full peripartum period during which hormone levels change nor have they compared prior depression history with hormone changes. In a pilot study we measured thyroid and adrenal hormones as well as mood at 38 weeks of pregnancy, and 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 weeks postpartum in 12 women with major depression history and 14 women with negative psychiatric history. Subjects with prior depressions had significantly higher T3, T4, TSH and cortisol levels during the puerperium. Subjects with higher levels of postpartum dysphoria had lower T4 and free T4 levels as well as higher T3 uptake at 38 weeks of pregnancy and higher cortisol levels during the puerperium. The pathophysiological implications of these findings are discussed.

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