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Br J Psychiatry. 1996 Jun;168(6):739-44.

Cardiff puerperal mood and hormone study. III. Postnatal depression at 5 to 6 weeks postpartum, and its hormonal correlates across the peripartum period.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wales College of Medicine, Whitchurch Hospital, Cardiff.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We assessed associations of mood at 5-6 weeks postpartum with peripartum saliva cortisol and progesterone profiles.

METHOD:

A prospective study involved 120 primiparous women free of major marital, socioeconomic and health problems, who collected saliva twice daily from 2 weeks before delivery to day 35 postpartum. This allowed intensive characterisation of cortisol and progesterone profiles. At the conclusion of the study, mood was assessed according to standard criteria.

RESULTS:

Seven women developed major depression according to DSM-III-R criteria. No associations emerged between progesterone and mood at 5 to 6 weeks. Lower levels of evening cortisol in the immediate peripartum period, were associated with postnatal depression.

CONCLUSION:

The study provides no support for the treatment strategy of progesterone augmentation following delivery, as a prophylactic against postnatal depression. The HPA axis and its associations with postnatal mood warrants further investigation.

PMID:
8773817
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.168.6.739
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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