Thesis defence in the University of Oulu

Doctoral Candidate

MD Tiina Taka-Eilola

Faculty and research unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience

Field of study

Psychiatry

Date and time of the thesis defence

29.5.2019 12:00

Place of the thesis defence

Auditorium 1, Building PT1 of the Department of Psychiatry (Peltolantie 17)

Topic of the dissertation

Mental health problems in the adult offspring of antenatally depressed mothers in the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort: Relationship with parental severe mental disorder

Opponent

MA, MD, PhD, professor Hasse Karlsson, University of Turku

Custos

MD, PhD, Professor Juha Veijola, University of Oulu

Depression during pregnancy may be associated with offspring mental health problems

Long follow-up studies on the offspring of antenatally depressed mothers are scarce. In the present dissertation study, the adult offspring of mothers with depressed mood during pregnancy (antenatal depression) were found to have an increased risk of severe mental disorder, especially if the parents had also other psychiatric illness. Based on findings in the study, the efficient detection and treatment of maternal antenatal depression and parental mental disorders could result in decreased risk of mental disorders in the offspring. The study was based on the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 with more than 12,000 subjects. The pregnant mothers of the cohort members were asked had they felt their mood as depressed during pregnancy. The cohort members were followed for over 40 years of age, and those with hospital treated psychosis, bipolar disorder, depression, antisocial personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder, were detected. Maternal antenatal depression and parental severe mental disorder were studied as individual and combined risk factors. The cohort members of whom mothers had been depressed during pregnancy had an increased risk of depression and of antisocial personality disorder in males. In those cohort members with parental severe mental disorder, the risk of psychosis and bipolar disorder was increased, and of borderline personality disorder in males. The cohort members with both maternal antenatal depression and parental severe mental disorder had a markedly elevated risk of psychosis and depression, when compared to those with only one of the risk factors. It has been estimated that every seventh mother is depressed during pregnancy, and every tenth parent has a severe mental disorder. Both maternal and spousal mental disorder increases the risk of maternal antenatal depression, and thus those psychiatric conditions are quite often present in same families. Pregnancy and the postnatal period present a good opportunity for detection and treatment of antenatal depression and other parental mental illness, because of the regular healthcare contacts at that time. The efficient detection and early treatment of antenatal depression and parental mental disorders could result in decreased rates of mental disorders in the offspring.

Last updated: 24.5.2019