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JAMA. 1997 Feb 5;277(5):383-8.

Major depressive disorder in the 6 months after miscarriage.

Author information

  • 1Epidemiology of Developmental Brain Disorders Department, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test a priori hypotheses that miscarrying women are at increased risk for a first or recurrent episode of major depressive disorder in the 6 months following loss and that this increased risk is greater for childless women, women with prior reproductive loss, and women aged 35 years or older; and to evaluate whether risk varies by time of gestation or by attitude toward the pregnancy.

DESIGN:

Cohort study.

SETTING:

The miscarriage cohort consisted of women attending a medical center for a spontaneous abortion (n=229); the comparison group was a population-based cohort of women drawn from the community (n=230).

PARTICIPANTS:

Miscarriage was defined as the involuntary termination of a nonviable intrauterine pregnancy before 28 completed weeks of gestation. Half of all participants were between 25 and 34 years of age; 40% were white and 35% Hispanic; 55% had more than a high school education. Participants constituted 60% of miscarrying women and 72% of community women who completed the first phase of this cohort study.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Major depressive disorder was measured using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule.

RESULTS:

Risk for an episode of major depressive disorder among miscarrying women in the 6 months following loss was compared with the 6-month risk among community women who had not been pregnant in the preceding year. Among miscarrying women, 10.9% experienced an episode of major depressive disorder, compared with 4.3% of community women. The overall relative risk (RR) for an episode of major depressive disorder for miscarrying women was 2.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-5.1) and was substantially higher for childless women (RR, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.7-14.4) than for women with children (RR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.5-3.5) (P<.06). Among miscarrying women, 72% of cases of major depressive disorder began within the first month after loss; only 20% of community cases started during the comparable period. Among miscarrying women with a history of major depressive disorder, 54% experienced a recurrence. However, RR did not vary significantly by history of prior reproductive loss or by maternal age, nor did risk vary by time of gestation or attitude toward the pregnancy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Physicians should monitor miscarrying women in the first weeks after reproductive loss, particularly women who are childless or who have a history of major depressive disorder. Where appropriate, supportive counseling or psychopharmacologic treatment should be considered.

Comment in

PMID:
9010170
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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