Psychosocial and psychological interventions effective for postpartum depression

Clinical question: 
How effective are psychosocial and psychological interventions for postpartum depression?
Bottom line: 
Compared to usual postpartum care, psychosocial (eg.peer support, non-directive counselling) and psychological (eg.cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy) interventions are effective in reducing the symptoms of postpartum depression (NNT=7 range 4 to 20). Trials selecting participants based on a clinical diagnosis of depression were just as effective in decreasing symptomatology as those that enrolled women who met inclusion criteria based on self-reported depressive symptomatology. Although the methodological quality of trials was, in general, not strong, the meta-analysis suggested these interventions were effective.
Follow-up was limited to one year postpartum. The long-term benefits are unknown.
Postpartum depression affects approximately 13% of all new mothers. Many women are keen to try treatment options other than medication due to concerns about breast milk transmission or potential side effects.
Review CD#: 
January, 2008
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy