Researchers at King’s College London have studied the prevalence of mental health problems and mental health disorders in pregnancy.
Results showed that 1 in 4 women suffered a mental illness such as depression (11%), anxiety (15%), eating disorders (2%) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (2%).
Research author and Professor of Women’s Mental Health at King’s College London, Louise Howard, said: “In clinical practice, maternity professionals need to identify whether or not a woman has any mental disorder, not only mood disorders which until recently have been the main focus of concern.
“This study supports the NICE recommendation that women should be asked, by a non-judgemental and supportive health professional, at all contacts in pregnancy and after birth about their emotional well-being and are given the opportunity to respond to these structured questions.”
The researchers recruited 545 pregnant women over the age of 16 to partake in the study, during their antenatal booking appointment at an inner-city south-east London maternity unit, between November 2014 and June 2016.
The study report was published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, a journal published monthly by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
This independent research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the NIHR/Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility, and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.
An abstract of the research ‘Accuracy of the Whooley questions and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in identifying depression and other mental disorders in early pregnancy’ can be found here.
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