BACKGROUND: Postpartum depression is considered to be one of the most common health threats during pregnancy and postpartum, affecting not only the woman herself but also the offspring and the whole family system. Evidence for a conclusive etiopathological model with distinct risk and resilience factors is still broadly lacking. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to investigate numerous health-related markers to obtain greater insight into which biopsychosocial profiles render women more vulnerable to PPD or facilitate a healthy transition from pregnancy to postpartum.
METHODS: The observational, longitudinal study aims to include a total of 288 physically healthy women, aged 20-45 years. A multitude of relevant parameters, of an (epi-) genetic, endocrinological, physiological and psychological nature, will be assessed over a period of 5 months, following the participants from the 3rd trimester until three months postpartum.
DISCUSSION: The ultimate goal of the present study is to ameliorate mental health care during pregnancy and postpartum, by gaining a better understanding of the underlying biopsychosocial mechanisms that women undergo during the transition from pregnancy to postpartum.