Study: New model predicts post-birth depression

Post-partum depression continues to be a serious problem for women, and one that isn't diagnosed as often as it should be--sometimes leading to tragic consequences such as maternal suicide.

Now, however, researchers say they've developed a model that should do a better job of predicting which mothers-to-be are vulnerable to post-natal depression, making it more likely these women will get treatment. Spanish researchers say the model can find 80 percent of women who are vulnerable to this illness.

To conduct their study, which was published in Methods of Information in Medicine, researchers examined 1,397 Spanish women who gave birth from December 2003 to October 2004 in seven Spanish hospitals.

Risk factors they identified included extent of social support for the mother, prior psychiatric problems in the mom's family and polymorphisms in the serotonin transport gene.

To learn more about this study:
- read this UPI piece