Can postpartum depression be predicted? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Examining the contents of small membrane bound sacs known as vesicles in maternal blood may help predict the development of postpartum depression after pregnancy, a Johns Hopkins study led by Sarven Sabunciyan has found. And since the condition develops in one in nine women, such a test would be very helpful.

Sabunciyan: You could certainly do this for women who are at high risk. Because if you have a mood disorder what happens is a lot of women with mood disorders is that they stop taking their medications because of concerns about fetal development. So they’re more at risk for development of postpartum depression. It might not be a bad idea to follow these women. If we can get a test that’s 99.9% accurate we’ll see where the research goes. These are serious diseases. What we want to do is we want to have a screening tool.  :29

Sabunciyan says the incidence of postpartum depression appears to be increasing, so a screening tool could help identify these women and intervene early. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.