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Seizure. 2019 Oct 31;73:31-38. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2019.10.018. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of postpartum depression on the behaviour of children born to mothers with epilepsy.

Author information

1
Epilepsy Center-Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, ASST Santi Paolo Carlo, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy. Electronic address: katherine.turner@asst-santipaolocarlo.it.
2
Epilepsy Center-Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, ASST Santi Paolo Carlo, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy.
3
Epilepsy Center-Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, ASST Santi Paolo Carlo, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy; Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, Italy.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a non-psychotic depressive disorder that begins within 4 weeks of childbirth. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of PPD by screening mothers with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), to assess the behavioural outcome of children born to mothers with and without epilepsy and to investigate the relationship between PPD and children's behavioural problems.

METHOD:

We enrolled 80 pregnancies of women with epilepsy, who filled in EPDS after birth, and afterward we asked them to complete the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).

RESULTS:

23.8% of patients presented PPD. Children, when the CBCL were completed, had a mean age of 6.05 ± 3.07 years. The CBCL results indicate the occurrence of at least one behavioural issue in 25.0% (20/80) of children. CBCL scores revealed a higher prevalence of behavioural disturbances with regards to the CBCL Total (P = 0.016), internalizing (P = 0.014) and somatic problems (P = 0.048) in patients with PPD vs. patients without PPD. We found an association between mothers' EPDS total score and children's CBCL global score (P = 0.034), internalizing score (P = 0.021), anxiety problems (P = 0.05), affective problems (P = 0.027) and withdrawn/depressed (P = 0.05). We recorded a statistically higher malformation rate in patients with PPD (P = 0.005) compared to the general population.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children born from mothers with epilepsy have an increased risk for emotional disorders. These findings highlight the importance of screening for emotional distress and providing adequate interventions to children born to women with epilepsy.

KEYWORDS:

AEDs exposure; Behavioural development; EPDS; Postpartum depression

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