Can Prenatal Plasma Oxytocin Concentration Predict Likelihood of Postpartum Depression? An Opportunity for Early Intervention and Prevention in a Vulnerable Population

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

The Prentice Ambulatory Care Clinic is an outpatient obstetric and gynecologic clinic within the
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare System devoted to the care of high-risk patients, serving some 1000
patients per year, with approximately 600 deliveries. Most patients served by this clinic are low income
Medicaid-insured women in their reproductive years who face many risk factors for poorer maternal and
child outcomes. These risk factors include poverty, chronic medical illness, and relevant to this project, a
greater risk of developing postpartum depression. The aim of this project is to test the hypothesis that
oxytocin measured during the third trimester can be used to accurately predict the likelihood of
developing postpartum depression. If proven, we can deliver existing evidence-based interventions at the
Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders to identified at-risk mothers, to
actually prevent postpartum depression. Our specific focus is on low income women served at the
Prentice Ambulatory Care Clinic, who are at increased risk for postpartum depression, and whose
children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse consequences associated with untreated maternal
depression (see below). A secondary goal is to contribute to a greater understanding of the role of
oxytocin in perinatal mood; this can inform the design of novel medications and interventions in the future.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/15

Funding

  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Exhibit B.3//9/12/13)

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