Published paper looks at screening for bipolar disorders in pregnant women

By Staff

Research looking at measures used to screen bipolar disorders in the general population and the application of these measures to screen perinatal (during pregnancy and shortly after the time of birth) women recently was published in the Archives of Women's Mental Health."Screening for bipolar disorder during pregnancy and the postpartum period" was published by Cheryl Chessick, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and director of women's studies and treatment at the University of Colorado Depression Center, and Sona Dimidjian, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Chessick also is a consulting psychiatrist in the Perinatal Mood Disorder Clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Bipolar spectrum disorder (BD) among pregnant women and women who have just given birth can lead to a variety of adverse health outcomes for both moms and babies. The disorder can significantly diminish a new mom's capacity to care for and interact with her newborn. Up to 70 percent of women diagnosed with bipolar disorders before having children experience the mood disorder during their reproductive years.

"Despite the magnitude of the problem of bipolar disorder during the perinatal period, effective management of the disorder for women during this life cycle phase is limited," Chessick said. "A critical barrier to progress is a lack of clarity regarding screening measures in this population. Diagnosing women with BD can be challenging, and requires accurate analysis of information provided by the patient."