April 16, 2019 – Who’s at Risk


Anchor lead: Understanding postpartum depression may help identify those at risk, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Having a new baby can be a time of joy, but for one in five women postpartum depression may interfere. Now the FDA has approved a new drug to treat the condition, and Lauren Osborne, a postpartum depression expert at Johns Hopkins, says a better understanding of how the condition develops is also emerging.

Osborne: The clear biological thing that happens is childbirth. When women go through pregnancy, their levels of reproductive hormones rise enormously across the course of their pregnancy, then within about 24 hours after childbirth those hormone levels crash down, about a thousand fold over that 24 hour period. We think it’s that hormone crash that in some women is triggering an episode of postpartum depression. There are some women who are particularly vulnerable to that transition, but we haven’t quite figured out what makes women vulnerable.  :31

Osborne welcomes the newly approved drug, called Zulresso, to help, and urges women who feel they may have the condition to see a clinician right away. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.