Year: 2020 Source: Journal of Affective Disorders. (2019). 257, 518-526. SIEC No: 20200060

Suicide belongs to the leading causes of maternal perinatal mortality and suicidal ideation is one of the strongest predictors for suicide attempt and completion and thus represents an opportunity for early intervention prior to self and infant harm. This post-hoc analysis aims to investigate predictors of peripartum suicidality (PS) and potential maternal and infant outcomes of PS.
In the prospective-longitudinal Maternal Anxiety in Relation to Infant Development (MARI) study, n = 306 women were repeatedly examined from early pregnancy until 16 months postpartum using interviews (Composite International Diagnostic Interview for Women) and questionnaires (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Brief Symptom Inventory) to obtain sociodemographic, gynecological and offspring characteristics as well as information about PS (thoughts of death/self-harm, suicide plans, suicide attempt).
PS was indicated by n = 15 women. A stepwise multivariate logistic regression revealed a history of suicide attempt (OR = 17.84, 95%CI: 4.61–69.05), living together with the partner (OR = 0.14, 95%CI: 0.03–0.63), and social support (OR = 0.35, 95%CI: 0.13–0.91) as significant predictors for PS (model fit: AUC = 0.7926). As compared to women with no PS, infants of women with PS presented lower scores in neuropsychological development (p = 0.020).
This post-hoc analysis was conducted with the aim of generating hypotheses for future research. The small number of women who indicated PS limits the statistical power.
PS is an important perinatal complication that requires clinical attention. Larger prospective studies are warranted to verify the findings. This will lead to improved preventive and therapeutic approaches and a better understanding of the motives behind maternal suicide and infanticide.