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Pregnancy and psychopathology

PhD ceremony:dr. T. Verbeek-van Buuren
When:January 20, 2016
Supervisors:prof. dr. M.Y. (Marjolein) Berger, prof. dr. C.L.H. Bockting
Co-supervisors:dr. H. (Huibert) Burger, dr. M.G. van Pampus
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Pregnancy and psychopathology

For a lot of people, because of the joy and happiness of a new life, pregnancy means being on cloud nine. The general population may not be aware that this does not apply to every woman. Psychopathology during and after pregnancy occurs among as much as 10-20% of all pregnant women.

This thesis focuses on several aspects of psychopathology around pregnancy. In almost 8000 pregnant women, we investigated risk factors for anxiety and depression. Furthermore, we studied adverse effects of these psychiatric disorders both on breastfeeding and on the (unborn) child. Besides that, we investigated the prevalence and severity of anxiety and depression among pregnant women in Nicaragua. We studied the effects of psychotherapy on maternal symptoms, on perinatal outcomes, and on the development and behaviour of the child, compared to care as usual. Because we found no evidence for a positive effect on maternal symptoms, child development and behaviour, and a possible adverse effect on perinatal outcomes, we conclude that cognitive behavioural therapy should not be provided as treatment of subclinical antenatal psychopathology.