Lack of psychotropic medication changes among mood disordered women across the peripartum period

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Objective: Peripartum depression is a leading contributor to peripartum morbidity and mortality. Despite the evidence for relative safety, many patients and providers remain reluctant to use or modify psychotropics in the peripartum period. We hypothesized that depressed women in the peripartum period taking psychiatric medications would not experience dose adjustments. Methods: Women with a prior history of either Major Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Affective Disorder were followed through pregnancy and the postpartum period (N = 229). Depressive symptoms were measured with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), with a score ≥ 13 indicating likely depression. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and logistic regression. Results: Antepartum depression was more common than postpartum depression (PPD; 29% vs. 20%); 38% of women with antepartum depression also had PPD. Regression analysis revealed that, although depressed women in pregnancy were not more likely to have a dose adjustment than nondepressed women (OR: 1.9, 95% CI: 0.8–4.6), depressed women in the postpartum were more likely to receive a medication change than nondepressed women (OR: 6.3, 95% CI: 2.0–20.4). Conclusions: In a naturalistic study, more medication adjustments for depression occurred in the postpartum than in pregnancy. This may indicate that antepartum depression is undertreated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2786
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • antepartum depression
  • medication
  • peripartum
  • postpartum depression
  • pregnancy
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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