Harvard Review of Psychiatry vol:22 issue:1 pages:1-22
Learning Objectives: After participating in this educational activity, the physician should be better able to1. Identify the risk factors associated with persistence of postpartum depression.2. Evaluate the limitations of the literature.3. Determine the implications of the findings on women with postpartum depression and their children.This article aims to critically review studies published between 1985 and 2012 concerning the course of postpartum depression (PPD), as well as factors implicated in PPD with a chronic course. We provide a systematic, qualitative review of studies on the course of PPD, following PRISMA guidelines. The results show that although the majority of women recover from PPD, it becomes chronic in a relatively large subgroup of women. Several studies have identified risk factors predicting a chronic course of PPD. This review also emphasizes and discusses important conceptual and methodological limitations in existing research, which preclude drawing strong conclusions. Finally, the implications of these findings and suggestions for future research and clinical intervention are outlined.