Try to Relax! Fear of Childbirth Increases Risk of Postpartum Depression

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According to new research published in the BMJ Open, researchers from Finland found that women worried about childbirth are at an increased risk for postpartum depression.In a study that included more than 500,000 moms, researchers found that women with a history of depression are at the highest risk of postpartum depression (three times more likely than other mothers without a history of depression).

The study, performed because postpartum depression was diagnosed in .3 percent of all mothers who delivered between 2002 and 2010 in Finland, found that postpartum depression is highest right after the birth of a woman’s first child. It’s also diagnosed in 5.3 percent of women with a history of depression and in one-third of all women without any history of depression. C-section deliveries, preterm birth and other major congenital factors are also leading causes in postpartum depression. Postpartum depression occurs in 10 to 15 percent of new moms and it is a major depressive episode that happens in the postpartum period. Compared to the “baby blues” the symptoms of postpartum depression are more severe, they are persistent, and do not get better without treatment. Postpartum depression also interferes with a woman’s ability to function as she normally would.

Globally, as many as 50 to 80 percent of all women suffer from the baby blues after giving birth, with a smaller range of women developing postpartum depression shortly after.

Researchers in the study found that the observed link between fear of childbirth and postpartum depression may help healthcare professionals recognize warning signs earlier and offer moms-to-be better prenatal and postnatal care.

Do you think better postnatal care would be beneficial to a new mom’s mental and emotional health?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Everything You Need to Know About Postbirth Recovery

Avoiding Postpartum Depression?

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?