Postpartum Depression May Last 3 Years

Postpartum Depression May Last 3 Years

A woman sits at a wooden coffee table in a shop. She has her forehead leaning against her hand, and she appears stressed.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 2, 2020) – A recent study by Upstate KIDS found that one quarter of mothers in a population-based birth cohort had elevated depressive symptoms in the 3 years after the birth of their babies, showcasing the possible need for maternal depression screening beyond the postpartum period.

“If screening for depression happens only once, or happens too early after delivery, we may be missing a large percentage of mothers who develop depression,” explains Erin Bell, Professor and Upstate KIDS researcher. “Assessing mothers multiple times early and late in the postpartum period— and extending the postpartum period to at least 2 years after birth— would provide a clearer picture of mothers whose symptoms are persisting or increasing so caregivers may connect them with the appropriate resources for support.”

This work was developed by Upstate KIDS, a collaboration between the New York State Department of Health, the University at Albany, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to track the growth, motor and social development of children to examine associations with parental medical conditions and characteristics.

The study’s new publication on postpartum depression—published in Pediatrics— was recently covered by NPR; you can listen to the segment here.