Course of a major postpartum depressive episode: A prospective 2 years naturalistic follow-up study

Anna Torres, Estel Gelabert, Alba Roca, Purificación Navarro, Anna Plaza, Susana Subirà, Rocío Martin-Santos, Carlos Ascaso, Lluïsa Garcia-Esteve

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8 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Background: Survival methodology has not already been used in studies about postpartum depression (PPD) course. The aims of the present study were to estimate the duration of a Major Postpartum Depressive Episode (MPDE) during 2 years, as well as to explore factors associated with the course. Method: This was a prospective, naturalistic, longitudinal study with a cohort of 165 women with a MPDE (DSM-IV criteria). Potential predictors of prognosis were recorded at baseline. Follow-up was conducted using the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation (LIFE). Results: Of the total sample, 110 (66.7%) completed the 2 years follow-up. The mean time to full remission was 49.4 weeks (95% CI: 44.0–59.8). The probability of recovering was 30.2% (95% CI: 22.1%–37.4%) at 6 months of follow-up, 66.3% (95% CI: 57.4%–73.4%) at 12 months of follow-up, and 90.3% (95% CI: 79.8%–95.4%) at 24 months of follow-up. Mothers with financial difficulties, onset of depressive episode previous to birth, and those with prior treated depressive episodes took longer in achieving full remission. Limitations: Results are only generalizable to mothers with PPD treated in a psychiatric outpatient setting. Psychopharmacological treatment was uncontrolled and personality was not assessed. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that PPD could become a chronic disorder, particularly in mothers with an onset of the episode previous to birth, with a history of depression or with financial problems. Knowledge of these factors may help to improve the guidelines of depression management and treatment during the perinatal period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-970
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019


  • Course
  • Longitudinal study
  • Postpartum depression
  • Risk factors


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