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Contempo Updates
Clinician's Corner
February 13, 2002

Postpartum Depression

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago.


Contempo Updates Section Editor: Janet M. Torpy, MD, Fishbein Fellow.

JAMA. 2002;287(6):762-765. doi:10.1001/jama.287.6.762

Clinicians since Hippocrates have noted an association between the postpartum period and mood disturbances.1 This linkage entered official psychiatric nomenclature in 1994, when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition defined major depression with postpartum onset as episodes of depression beginning within 4 weeks of giving birth.2 This time period corresponds to the rapid hormonal changes posited to contribute to vulnerability to depression. However, because psychosocial factors also play a major role in triggering postpartum depression, most researchers use a working definition of the postpartum period as lasting up to 6 months after delivery.

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