HOPE - postpartum depression

In Denmark, around 8-9000 new mothers develop a postpartum depression each year, which corresponds to approx. 10-15% of women who give birth to a child. The symptoms of depression include sadness, lack of desire and joy for the child, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. In rare instances, postpartum depression may be associated with thoughts of self-harm or harm to the child. In addition to negatively affecting the well-being of the mother, postpartum depression can also have negative consequences for the child and the entire family. Today, there are no tools to identify which women will develop postpartum depression.

The overarching goal and aim of the HOPE project are to collect data on women who have given birth recently or earlier in life, and subsequently use these data to identify risk factors for developing postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, as well as to explore the consequences of these disorders. The data collected must be compared with information about the mother, the mother's children and other women in the Danish health registers. The research project will provide new knowledge about why some women develop postpartum depression while others do not. In addition, the aim of the project is to develop a risk prediction tool to identify women at particularly high risk of depression or other mental disorders following childbirth. Health visitors may then use this tool to identify which women to potentially offer intervention or early treatment. Ideally, this approach will help reduce the incidence of postpartum depression and/or secure early treatment. Visit the HOPE website for more information on the project: hope.au.dk