Peripartum Mental Illness in Parents with Multiple Sclerosis: Incidence and Prevalence
Year Awarded: 2022
Term: 3 years
Funding Amount: $214,145
Affiliation(s): University of Manitoba
Researcher(s): Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie
Impact Goal(s): Enhance Well-being
- Mental illness during the peripartum period (during pregnancy and after delivery) poses serious health risks to parents and their children. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with an increased incidence and prevalence of depression, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder; yet little is known on how often peripartum mental illness occurs in parents with MS.
- Researchers aim to measure the risk of peripartum mental illness (i.e., depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis and substance use) in women and men with MS, and determine how this risk compares to parents with other serious chronic diseases. Potential risk factors for developing peripartum mental illness in MS will also be examined.
- Findings from this research will help raise awareness of the frequency of peripartum mental illness in people with MS and enable early detection and treatment by healthcare providers.
One in 7 mothers face mental illnesses such as depression during the peripartum period, that is, during pregnancy or after delivery. Fathers may also face mental illness during these times. Peripartum mental illness can harm parents and their children. MS is associated with an increased incidence and prevalence of depression, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder, which reduces quality of life, impairs thinking and memory and is associated with worsening MS. With the rising prevalence of MS worldwide, the rising number of people with MS having children, and the potential adverse effects of peripartum mental illness on the parent and child, learning about how often peripartum mental illness occurs in parents with MS is important.
Using a population-based administrative health claims data in Ontario, Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie and team will measure the risk of peripartum mental illness in women and men with MS and determine how this risk compares to parents with other serious chronic diseases including diabetes, epilepsy and inflammatory bowel disease. The research team will look at mental illness broadly, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis and substance use. Additionally, the team will assess the risk factors for peripartum mental illness in MS, such as age or co-existing health conditions. Identifying parents who are at high risk for mental illness will allow for the development of targeted strategies to prevent or treat mental illness to those who most need help.
Potential Impact: Findings from this research will help raise awareness of the frequency of peripartum mental illness in people with MS, allow clinicians to detect mental illness in parents with MS so they can be treated faster and better, and inform policies to advocate for better mental health supports for women and men with MS during and after pregnancy. In the long-term, this research will allow us to determine whether peripartum mental illness can affect the child’s development or the parent’s MS, and potentially develop preventative measures for peripartum mental illness in parents with MS.
Project Status: Ongoing