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Association Between Intrapartum Epidural Use and Maternal Postpartum Depression Presenting for Medical Care

A Population-based, Matched Cohort Study

Wu, Y.; McArthur, E.; Dixon, S.; Dirk, J.S.; Welk, B.K.

doi: 10.1097/
Anesthesia and Analgesia: Regional Analgesia

(Int J Obstet Anesth. 2018;35:10–16)

Postpartum depression (PPD) occurs commonly, with a prevalence of 6% to 22% reported in the medical literature. This disorder can adversely affect both the mother and infant with the most severe cases leading to self-harm, suicide and rarely even infanticide. However, many women suffering from PPD do not seek help from medical professionals, so the disorder is underreported. In fact, there are some initiatives underway that recommend mandatory screening for PPD. Over the past few years, there have been several studies published that evaluated the association between the use of epidural labor analgesia and the development of PPD. The results have been conflicting, however, with some reporting a decreased risk in women who received epidural analgesia and others reporting no effect or an increased risk. This current retrospective, population-based, matched cohort study aimed to determine whether intrapartum epidural use was associated with postpartum women seeking care for PPD while accounting for maternal and neonatal characteristics that could also affect the development of PPD.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada

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