Antidepressant treatment for postnatal depression

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Systematic Review

Source: The Cochrane Collaborative

Last Reviewed: February 2021

In this Cochrane systematic review, researchers studied the effectiveness and safety of antidepressant drugs in comparison with other treatments (psychological, psychosocial, or pharmacological), placebo, or treatment as usual for postnatal (postpartum) depression.

Researchers found limited evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of antidepressants to manage postpartum depression, particularly for people with more severe depression. They found low‐certainty evidence that SSRI antidepressants may be more effective in treating postpartum depression than placebo, as measured by response and remission rates. 

However, further research is needed to better understand whether, and for whom, antidepressants or other treatments are more effective at treating postpartum depression, and whether some antidepressants are more effective or better tolerated than others. Future randomized controlled trials should focus on larger samples, longer follow‐up, comparisons with alternative treatment modalities, and inclusion of child and parenting outcomes.  

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Suggested Citation


Brown JV, Wilson CA, Ayre K, et al. (2021). Antidepressant treatment for postnatal depression. Retrieved from