In fact, Dr. Barbara L. Gracious said in an interview with Reuters Health, “It may be that having a history of major depression is a risk factor for weight retention after delivery.”
Therefore, she advised, women with a history of depression after childbirth “should not avoid treatment due to concerns about medication altering ability to lose weight.”
Gracious, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York, and colleagues report results their study of the effect of antidepressant treatment on weight loss in the postpartum period in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
They compared weight loss after birth in women randomly assigned to different types of antidepressants or placebo in two clinical studies of recurrent postpartum major depression. All subjects had had at least one prior episode of major depressive disorder.
The women’s weight ranged from 109 to 268 pounds at 17 weeks after delivery. Their weight change ranged from a loss of 19 pounds to a gain of 14 pounds over this period, with the average change being a loss of 1.8 pounds.
However, the average weight at week 17 was not significantly different between the active treatment and placebo groups.
Thus, the researchers conclude that “concern about compromised weight loss in postpartum women ... is unwarranted.”
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, March 2005.
Revision date: June 11, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD