Pregnancy hormone predicts postpartum depression

Feb 02, 2009

Women who have higher levels of a hormone produced by the placenta midway through pregnancy appear more likely to develop postpartum depression, a study authored by a UC Irvine researcher finds.

The discovery could help identify and treat women at risk for postpartum depression long before the onset of symptoms.

Ilona Yim, psychology and social behavior assistant professor, and colleagues found that women whose levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone started to increase more rapidly around 25 weeks of gestation had a higher incidence of postpartum depression.

Normally secreted in very small amounts by the hypothalamus, this hormone regulates the body's response to stress. During pregnancy, large amounts are produced in the placenta and are associated with delivery.

"The hormone we studied plays an important part in pregnancy and has been linked to depression," Yim said. "Many factors may cause some women's bodies to produce more of this hormone during pregnancy. Evidence suggests that stress early in pregnancy could play a role."

The researchers studied the hormone-postpartum depression link using data from a larger study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They took blood samples from 100 pregnant women and assessed symptoms of depression throughout pregnancy, then again nine weeks after delivery.

Of the 100 women, 16 developed postpartum depression symptoms during follow-up visits. Three-fourths of those women, the study concludes, could have been identified in mid-pregnancy based solely on hormone levels.

In addition to Yim, Laura M. Glynn, Christine Dunkel Schetter, Calvin J. Hobel, Aleksandra Chicz-DeMet and Curt A. Sandman worked on the study, which appears in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Source: University of California - Irvine

Explore further: Novel marker discovered for stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New mums shun Twitter and stick to baby-friendly Facebook

Feb 07, 2014

Although it might sometimes seem that your Facebook feed is overrun with chatter about babies, research from Microsoft has suggested that mums actually spend less time on the site after they have had children. And w ...

Even dads get the baby blues: study

May 18, 2010

It's not just mothers who get the baby blues -- a significant number of dads also suffer from depression before or after a baby's birth, a study published Tuesday showed.

Postpartum Baby Blues Impact Majority of New Moms

Sep 10, 2009

Tracy Perkins Rodriguez, 36, thought her life was finally on the upswing. When her husband returned from his third tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, the couple purchased their dream home and promptly became pregnant with ...

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

59 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

12 hours ago

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies

13 hours ago

A Northwestern University synthetic biology team has created a new technology for modifying human cells to create programmable therapeutics that could travel the body and selectively target cancer and other ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.