Background: This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an antenatal psycho-educational intervention to prevent postpartum depression in Mexican women.
Method: Pregnant women at high risk for depression were randomized to intervention or a usual care condition. Assessments of depression (SCID, BDI-II) occurred during pregnancy, 6 weeks and 4-6 months postnatally, and subjective impact of the intervention in the postpartum.
Results: Of the 6484 women approached, 377 were eligible and consented to randomization (250 intervention, 127 control). Sixty-eight intervention (27.2%) and 68 (53.5%) control participants completed the three assessment periods. The cumulative incidence of major depression over three time periods was significantly lower (p<0.05) in the intervention (10.7%) than the control group (25%). Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed a significant reduction of BDI-II in both groups, but no significant treatment effect. Even when controlling for initial levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms, a treatment effect on depressive symptoms could not be confirmed, although there was a trend demonstrating that intervention participants with high initial symptoms had a larger reduction of BDI-II. Most participants that completed the intervention reported that it had a medium to great influence on their well-being, depression, current problems, role as mothers and their relationship with the baby.
Limitations: Attrition was the most salient methodological problem in this study.
Conclusions: This is the first randomized control depression prevention trial in high-risk pregnant Mexican women. Available data are consistent with the possibility that the incidence of depression may have been reduced by the intervention, but differential attrition makes interpretation of the findings difficult.
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