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Thyroid Antibodies are Marker for Post-Partum Depression
First Trimester Screening is Recommended

from Mary Shomon

June 2002 -- European researchers announced on June 24, 2002 that they have found that the presence of thyroid antibodies is a biological marker that can help identify pregnancy women who are risk of developing depression after childbirth.

As many as 15% of all women are estimated to suffer from post-partum depression, a full-scale form of depression

Unlike the common and transient “baby blues,” which plague many new mothers, post-partum depression is considered a more serious form of depression.

Because of the seriousness of post-partum depression, the researchers believe that having a reliable early warning test would be helpful.

According to experts, the study study showed that women with thyroid peroxidase antibodies during pregnancy were nearly three times more likely to become depressed after the birth of their child.

Even after excluding women who had suffered prior bouts of depression, the presence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies in early pregnancy was linked to 2.9 times the risk of post-partum.

According to researchers, the antibody test is not a diagnostic tool for identifying depression – everyone who has antibodies does not suffer post-partum depression. Rather, it is a tool to help identify women who will face an increased risk of post-partum depression. The researchers recommend that routine antibody screening be done in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The presence of the antibodies is also linked to an increased risk of thyroid dysfunction both during and after pregnancy, so early detection of antibodies can also help in identifying thyroid problems as well.

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