Perinatal depression refers to major and minor episodes during pregnancy (termed antenatal) and/or within the first 12 months after delivery (termed postpartum or postnatal). Perinatal depression is a great public health problem. It affects women in most countries around the globe, but women in developing countries bear the greatest burden. Antenatal depression has low detection rate and many women remain under-diagnosed. Depression during pregnancy has negative impact on course of pregnancy, fetal and neonatal outcome. These include growth restriction preterm birth and low birth weight, Small for Gestational Age (SGA). Studies have also shown that children born to depressed mothers are more likely to have behavioural problems and/or disruptions in cognitive and emotional development.
Therefore, it is important for clinical doctors to recognize mental health problems that can affect women in the perinatal period. Depression is only one of risk factors that can complicate pregnancy.
Multidisciplinary approach is needed when we are dealing with such an enemy that affects not only the mother but the fetus and neonate, as well.
It is far more important to screen women for depression during pregnancy, in countries without regular screening procedure and in countries where seeing the psychiatrist is believed to be a shame, especially when it is known that only 25% of women having difficulties in postpartum sees psychiatrist and receives the appropriated treatment. (Dugalic MG (2013) Frequency of Perinatal Depression in Serbia and Associated Risk Factors)
Last date updated on July, 2014