Beating The Baby Blues: Findings From A Newlydeveloped Obstetric-Psychiatry Liaison Service

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By May 14, 2015 No Comments

Authors: Brendan Jansen, WA

Year: 2002

Event: 2002 TheMHS Conference

Subject: book of proceedings, Best Practice for Early Intervention, women, post natal depression, antenatal mood disorder, antenatal depression,

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: The Obstetric-Psychiatry Liaison Project of the Osborne Park Hospital in Western Australia was borne out of the recognition of the importance of identifying and treating postnatal depression and to strengthen linkages between the obstetric and psychiatry services to facilitate better client outcomes. The project also had as a focus the education of staff to enable development of their skills.

A screen for risk factors for postnatal depression and antenatal mood disorders was developed with reference to the available literature. Cases felt to be at risk were referred to the psychiatrist on the team for assessment and management. Where longer term follow-up was required this was facilitated.

One hundred and thirty-five women have been referred to the service since the project was launched in October 2000. Sixty-five women had evidence of an antenatal mood disorder. There was a substantial improvement in symptoms of these women following treatment as evidenced by a fall in scores on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). The mean MADRS score on entry into the service was 23.0 and the mean on exit was 9.8.

The project highlights the opportunity to identify and treat depression in women in the antenatal period. The relatively high proportion (48%) of women referred who had a depressive disorder was an unexpected finding which confirms that antenatal mood disorders occur at a relatively high frequency. Adequate treatment of depression in the antenatal period may be a potent factor in reducing the incidence of postnatal depression.

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