The postpartum depression occurs between the 2nd and 6th week after birth. It is characterized by ambivalent emotions concerning the baby, excessive demands, feelings of guilt, fears of failure, panic attacks and sometimes culminates in suicide or infanticide. Previous studies show prevalence between 5 and 15%. In Germany only few data exist concerning epidemiology, aetiology and risk factors. Previous psychological diseases, especially depression, missing social support and bad partner support are important components. There is nothing common about the neural correlates of postpartum depression so far. Patients, midwives and gynaecologists rarely have information about experts and possibilities of treatment. Because the postpartum depression has devastating consequences for the mother and for the development of the child, a close cooperation between gynaecological, midwives and psychosomatic disciplines is essential and a directed psychotherapeutic consultation absolutely necessary.
Therefore we accomplish an interdisciplinary project with a multimodal approach. Besides a ‘postpartum-depression-hotline’, which is well-staffed by experts 24 hours, a new homepage concerning postpartum depression is available (www.wochenbettdepression-hotline.de). Therapeutic support for mothers and fathers occurs immediately by our team and a mother-child-unit is available. Turkish patients are included to assess intercultural influences. Clinical interviews and psychometric instruments are used to analyze personality, attachment, body perception etc. For the first time neural networks of postpartum depression are examined by fMRI. A picture-paradigm is used.
By our interdisciplinary approach we already established a broad supportive network in only few months.
Our psychometric and fMRI results contribute to further knowledge of aetiology and risk factors of postnatal depression.