This trial is active, not recruiting.

Condition postpartum depression
Sponsor Northwestern University
Collaborator Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Start date December 2013
End date June 2015
Trial size 100 participants
Trial identifier NCT02020148, 00082402


The goal of this research study is to understand the relationship between the hormone oxytocin and postpartum mood. Based on previous research, the investigators hypothesize that lower plasma oxytocin concentration during pregnancy will predict a greater likelihood of postpartum depression. Second, it is expected that oxytocin concentration in the third trimester will show an inverse relationship with the severity of depressive symptoms at 4 - 6 weeks postpartum.

Potential participants in the study will be screened for eligibility during their third trimester of pregnancy, using a combination of questionnaires. Those who are eligible for participation will have one blood sample drawn at this time, and then be asked to complete a follow up questionnaire at 4-6 weeks postpartum to assess for depressive mood symptoms. This follow up questionnaire can be completed either in person or on the telephone. Anyone who is interested in receiving help for their mood at any point in the study will receive referrals.

United States No locations recruiting
Other countries No locations recruiting

Study Design

Observational model cohort
Time perspective prospective

Primary Outcomes

Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, Self-Report (IDS-SR-30)
time frame: 4-6 weeks post delivery

Eligibility Criteria

Female participants at least 18 years old.

Inclusion Criteria: 1. At least 18 years of age 2. English-speaking 3. Pregnant (third trimester at time of visit) Exclusion Criteria: 1. Current active depression or other mental illness at time of study entry in the third trimester (past depression or anxiety is acceptable) 2. Current antidepressant treatment 3. Severe medical complications in current pregnancy (gestational diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disease) 4. Signs of multiple gestation or of fetal malformation in current pregnancy 5. Cigarette smoking beyond 10th week of gestation of current pregnancy 6. Pre-pregnancy BMI > 32

Additional Information

Official title Can Prenatal Plasma Oxytocin Concentration Predict Likelihood of Postpartum Depression? An Opportunity for Early Intervention and Prevention in a Vulnerable Population
Principal investigator Suena H Massey, MD
Description Postpartum depression affects some one in five new mothers, and adversely influences maternal adaptation to motherhood. While it is known that women with a prior history of depression, or depression during pregnancy, are at elevated risk for postpartum depression, many women with no prior history of depression or other risk factors go on to develop depression in the postpartum period. Considering the grave consequences of postpartum depression on maternal infant bonding and childhood psychological development, it is critical to develop reliable methods to identify which women, who are not depressed during pregnancy, will become depressed after delivery. The biological pathways leading to depression at any time in life, including around pregnancy, are still poorly characterized. Oxytocin, a hormone involved in delivery and lactation, has received recent attention regarding its additional role in maternal emotions and care taking behaviors after birth. Specifically, lower plasma oxytocin concentration in the third trimester of pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of depression at two weeks postpartum (Skrundz et al., 2001). The primary goal of this study is to replicate previous findings and clarify whether oxytocin is predictive of clinically significant depression at 4 - 6 weeks postpartum, using a more comprehensive diagnostic measure for depression.
Trial information was received from ClinicalTrials.gov and was last updated in July 2015.
Information provided to ClinicalTrials.gov by Northwestern University.