A prospective study of thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation during the postpartum period in women with mood disorders

Pope, Carley J.; Xie, Bin; Sharma, Verinder; Campbell, M. Karen
December 2013
Archives of Women's Mental Health;Dec2013, Vol. 16 Issue 6, p483
Academic Journal
Individuals with mood disorders are at higher risk for self-harm and suicidal ideation than other psychiatric group. However, the risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation after pregnancy for women with mood disorders is unknown. This investigation assessed the prevalence of thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation during the 1-year postpartum period in women with major depressive disorder or bipolar II disorder. Data were collected between June 2005 and March 2010 from a convenience sample of women participating in a study on the course of mood disorders during pregnancy and postpartum. Participant diagnosis was confirmed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Thoughts of self-harm were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale item 10 and suicidal ideation was assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale item 3. During the 1-year postpartum period, 16.97 % reported thoughts of self-harm while 6.16 % reported suicidal ideation. Further, those reporting thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideation postpartum also reported higher levels of depression and hypomanic symptoms. We found that a number of women in our sample of women with a diagnosed mood disorder report experiencing thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation during the postpartum.


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