Post-natal depression: link to partner abuse

Research has discovered a link between women who have suffered at the hands of an abusive partner and post-natal depression. The BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology report found that 40 per cent of females who had the mental illness after giving birth had been physically or emotionally hurt in this way.

Intimate partner violence in the perinatal period is linked to a range of psychological and physical health problems including adverse pregnancy and future behavioural problems in children, with post natal depression sometimes not occurring as a by-product half a year or more after the birth.

Dr Hannah Woodhouse of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute said that screening for this mental illness is now part of standard perinatal care, but this study indicates the need for such services to continue for longer than six months.

Mrs Susan Ashbourne, a Chartered Psychologist said: "The finding highlights the importance of assessing a postnatal mother's intimate relationships when depressive symptoms are reported and the need to continue to monitor a mother's mental health and the health of her close relationships throughout the first year."