A mother’s risk of developing postpartum depression might be influenced by the season in which she gives birth, a new study suggests, with summer and fall posing the greatest risk.
Researchers also found that women who deliver their baby without anesthesia may be at greater risk of postpartum depression (PPD), while women who give birth at a later gestational age may have a lower risk of the condition.
Lead study author Dr. Jie Zhou, of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, and colleagues believe that their findings may help women to reduce their risk of PPD, by addressing some of the risk factors identified.
The researchers presented their results at the Anesthesiology annual meeting, which was held in Boston this weekend.
PPD is more than the “baby blues.” It is defined as extreme feelings of anxiety, sadness, and tiredness that occur after giving birth. Without treatment, such feelings can seriously impact a mother’s emotional and physical health. This may make it difficult for her to bond with or care for her baby. In severe cases, a mother may think about harming herself or her child.
Sadly, PPD is common; around 1 in 9 women in the United States experience the condition after having a baby.