Postpartum Thyroid Measures and Depressive Symptomology: A Pilot Study

Sarah J. Breese McCoy, PhD; J. Martin Beal, DO; Mark E. Payton, PhD; Audra L. Stewart, DO; Ariana M. DeMers, DO; and Gary H. Watson, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: September 13, 2007

Accepted: December 19, 2007

Published: September 1, 2008

J Osteopath Med; 108(9): 503-507

Context: While correlations have been demonstrated between postpartum depression and psychosocial and circumstantial risk factors, some evidence exists for a similar relationship between postpartum depression and thyroid measures.

Objectives: To search at 4 weeks postpartum for correlations of numerical scores on a postnatal depression screening tool and thyroid measures.

Methods: Subjects took the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) prenatally and at 4 weeks postpartum. Participants were also given blood tests for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine4, thyroid peroxidase, and thyroglobulin at the same testing intervals.

Results: Fifty-one subjects aged 18 years or older were recruited. Subjects with higher serum TSH at 4 weeks postpartum tended to have higher EPDS scores. Similarly, the 7 subjects (13.7%) with positive postnatal thyroid antibody tests were more likely than their counterparts to have higher EPDS scores.

Conclusions: Presence of thyroid autoantibodies or higher TSH levels during the postpartum period may be related to depressive symptoms or dysphoric mood, even when clinical depression is not present. Either or both of these associations may contribute, along with other physiologic and psychosocial risk factors, to postpartum depression. ( number NCT00565032)

Read Full Article