Author(s): Miller ES, Hoxha D, Wisner KL, Gossett DR
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Abstract We sought to examine the evolution of postpartum anxiety, obsessions and compulsions over time, and the influence of depression on their clinical course. This was a prospective cohort of obstetric patients enrolled at a tertiary care women's hospital. Women were recruited immediately postpartum and followed for 6 months. Women were screened for depression, state-trait anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms and dichotomized by the presence of depression. Four hundred sixty-one women agreed to participate in the study and completed the 2 weeks postpartum assessment; 331 (72 \%) women completed the assessment at 6 months postpartum. At 2 weeks postpartum, 28 (19.9 \%) women with depression had anxiety symptoms, compared to 4 (1.3 \%) women who screened negative for depression (p < 0.001). Similarly, 36 (25.7 \%) women with depression endorsed obsessions and compulsions compared to 19 (8.4 \%) women without depression (p < 0.001). A significant interaction effect was present with anxiety over time such that by 6 months postpartum, there were no differences in symptoms in women with and without depression (p = 0.860). Conversely, the differences in obsessions and compulsions between depressed and non-depressed women persisted (p = 0.017). Women with postpartum depression are more likely to experience comorbid state-trait anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in the immediate postpartum period. While state-trait anxiety symptoms tend to resolve with time, obsessive-compulsive symptoms persist. Understanding these temporal trends is critical to tailor appropriate monitoring and treatment.
This article was published in Arch Womens Ment Health
and referenced in Journal of Depression and Anxiety