Meta-Analysis Shows Effective Psychological Treatment for Perinatal Depression

Depression during pregnancy and after the birth of a child is highly prevalent and an important public health problem. The first-line treatment is psychological interventions, and despite numerous randomized trials being conducted, a recent comprehensive meta-analysis hasn’t evaluated treatment effects.

To assess the effects of interventions in both the short and long term, the authors analyzed an existing database of randomized controlled trials of psychotherapies for adult depression, including studies aimed at perinatal depression. They used random effects models in all analyses.

– Forty-three studies were analyzed finding a significant overall effect size of g = 0.67, and significant effects on anxiety, functional limitations, parental stress, and marital stress.
– Despite some publication bias, the effect size remained significant during sensitivity analyses.
– Moreover, these effects remained significant up to 6-12 months follow-up.

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