Epilepsy and postpartum depression


Address correspondence to Dr. Katherine Turner, A.O. St. Paolo, Centro Regionale per l’Epilessia, Via A. di Rudinì, 8, 20142 Milan, Italy. E-mail: katherine.turner@ao-sanpaolo.it


Purpose: Postpartum depression occurs in 10–20% of women who have recently given birth, but less than half of cases are recognized. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there was a difference in the rate of postpartum depression between patients with epilepsy and healthy controls, and to determine the relationship between epilepsy and postpartum depression.

Methods: The sample consisted of 55 patients with epilepsy and 55 patients without epilepsy. All patients were recruited at the Regional Epilepsy Center and at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Milan, St. Paolo Hospital (Italy). Every woman was assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and a clinical interview to screen for postpartum depression.

Results: We found a statistically significant higher rate of postpartum depression in patients with epilepsy compared with controls (p < 0.05).

Discussion: These findings highlight the importance of screening for postpartum depression; it can improve the recognition of the disorder and can provide adequate treatment and follow-up.