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J Affect Disord. 2007 Sep;102(1-3):237-43. Epub 2006 Nov 27.

What does Chilean research tell us about postpartum depression (PPD)?

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Avenida La Paz 1003, Santiago, Chile.



In Chile, a country with a so called emerging market-economy, where rapid social and life style changes are taking place, women and the more socially disadvantaged are more at risk of becoming depressed.


Results of several studies are summarized in the context of a review of the literature.


A third of Chilean women have depressive and/or anxiety symptoms during midpregnancy, while prevalence figures both in the early and the late postpartum period increase up to 50% in most studies. If strict operational criteria describing well defined depressive disorders are used postnatally, differences in prevalence and incidence figures arise depending on socioeconomic status. Whereas incidence rates for postpartum depression (around 9%) are very similar to those found in the northern hemisphere and do not appear to vary across different socioeconomic levels, higher prevalence rates are found among women from lower socioeconomic status.


The studies focused on current diagnostic entities and did not consider different clusters or dimensions.


A shared biological etiology may be triggered by the physiology of childbirth and account for similarities in incidence across different socioeconomic levels. In turn, we hypothesize that the higher prevalence of postpartum depression (PPD) in Chilean women from lower socioeconomic status is the result of pre-existing depression and is not caused by more new cases of the illness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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