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Psychother Psychosom. 2012;81(2):98-107. doi: 10.1159/000330035. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Can a brief antepartum preventive group intervention help reduce postpartum depressive symptomatology?

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women and Children's Division, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevaal, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. kozinszkyz @



Psychosocial and psychological interventions are generally effective in reducing depressive symptomatology in the postpartum period. Our aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief preventive group intervention for postpartum depression (PPD) in a naturalistic setting, and study the effect of this on social and psychological risk factors.


We conducted a randomized controlled trial (n = 1,719) in south-eastern Hungary in 62 antepartum centers. Pregnant women (n = 710) underwent a 4-session preventive group intervention whereas a control group (n = 1,009) attended 4 sessions providing the same information given in usual care.


Our intervention appeared to significantly reduce the risk of PPD, as defined by Leverton Questionnaire total scores (OR = 0.69). It resulted in an absolute risk reduction of about 18% in those with antepartum depression and 0.5% in those with no depression at recruitment. A multiple logistic regression analysis revealed a much reduced risk in those with a perceived lack of partner support (OR = 0.4) in the treatment group. Unplanned pregnancy, an irreversible risk factor affecting every fifth woman, also seemed to have a reduced effect on PPD after our group intervention (OR = 0.81).


A brief preventive antepartum group intervention focusing on psychoeducation, stress management, improving coping mechanisms, and the development of social support can be effective in reducing postpartum depressive symptomatology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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