Although maternal suicide after giving birth is a relatively rare occurrence, suicide attempts often have long-lasting effects on the family and the infant.
A new study suggests screening for psychosocial risk factors, including depression during prenatal care, should continue during postpartum follow-up.
Furthermore, the study emphasizes the need for more careful follow-up of postpartum women with current or past psychiatric diagnoses or substance use.
Researchers compared two populations of mothers and found that a history of psychiatric disorders or substance abuse was a strong predictor of post-partum suicide attempts.
The study is published in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
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