Can Dreams During Pregnancy Predict Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression (henceforth PPD) is an emotional disturbance which occurs in as much as 20% of the childbearing population. This study attempted to ascertain whether dreams, offering unconscious expression of internal emotional processes, could help to identify early signs of PPD. It was hypothesized that differences would be found in the “emotional dream work” of pregnant women who either later developed or did not develop PPD. 166 women participated in the two stages of the study. During stage I, the women were interviewed in the last trimester of their first pregnancies. The interview included a demographic questionnaire and an account of a dream. During stage II, the women were interviewed 6–10 weeks after giving birth. The second interview included only the EPDS scale for affirming or denying the occurrence of PPD. The findings of the study confirm the hypothesis that dreams of pregnant women can differentiate among women who are or are not at-risk for PPD. It was found that more unpleasant dreams and dreams expressing apprehension were found among women who did not later develop PPD, than among women who did develop PPD.
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