Prenatal Partner Violence Tied to Postpartum Depression

Screening pregnant Latinas for intimate partner violence may help reduce postpartum depression

MONDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal exposure to recent intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with the development of postpartum depression (PPD) in Latinas, and may offer better prediction than prenatal depression, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Women's Mental Health.

Jeanette M. Valentine, Ph.D., from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues investigated whether recent IPV is a prenatal risk factor for PPD in pregnant Latinas. A total of 190 participants were interviewed prenatally and were assessed for PPD at three, seven, and 13 months postpartum, using Beck's Depression Inventory-Fast Screen. Women were screened for prenatal predictors of PPD, including depression, recent or remote IPV exposure, non-IPV trauma history, poverty, social support, acculturation, parity, and education status.

The investigators found that, in a bivariate analysis, recent IPV, prenatal depression, non-IPV trauma, and low social support were all associated with an increased likelihood of PPD. After adjusting for confounders, recent IPV and prenatal depression remained significantly correlated with PPD (adjusted odds ratio, 5.38 and 3.48, respectively).

"Recent IPV exposure is a strong, independent prenatal predictor of PPD among Latinas. Screening and referral for both IPV and PPD during pregnancy may help reduce postpartum mental health morbidity among Latinas," the authors write.

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