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Can Oxytocin Level Predict Postpartum Depression?

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02020148
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified July 2015 by Suena H Massey, MD, Northwestern University.
Recruitment status was:  Active, not recruiting
First Posted : December 24, 2013
Last Update Posted : July 30, 2015
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Suena H Massey, MD, Northwestern University

Brief Summary:

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.

Condition or disease
Postpartum Depression

Detailed 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.

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Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 100 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Can Prenatal Plasma Oxytocin Concentration Predict Likelihood of Postpartum Depression? An Opportunity for Early Intervention and Prevention in a Vulnerable Population
Study Start Date : December 2013
Actual Primary Completion Date : June 2015
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 2015

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, Self-Report (IDS-SR-30) [ Time Frame: 4-6 weeks post delivery ]
    The IDS-SR-30 is a validated, widely used tool to evaluate depressive symptoms and clinical depression. Participants will complete this questionnaire in person or through telephone interview.

Biospecimen Retention:   Samples Without DNA
A 3 milliliter (about half a teaspoon) blood sample will be obtained to measure oxytocin level.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Probability Sample
Study Population
Healthy Pregnant Women

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

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02020148

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United States, Illinois
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611
Sponsors and Collaborators
Northwestern University
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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Principal Investigator: Suena H Massey, MD Northwestern University
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Responsible Party: Suena H Massey, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Identifier: NCT02020148    
Other Study ID Numbers: 00082402
First Posted: December 24, 2013    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 30, 2015
Last Verified: July 2015
Keywords provided by Suena H Massey, MD, Northwestern University:
postpartum depression
pregnant women
women's health
mental health
baby blues
mood disorders
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Depression, Postpartum
Depressive Disorder
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders
Puerperal Disorders
Pregnancy Complications