Hey Boy-Moms, a new study out of the UK finds you are way more likely to suffer with post-partum depression (PPD) than Girl-Moms. Researchers looked at 300 women over several decades and found the odds of developing (PPD) for moms of males is 71 – 79% higher than moms of female babies.
The moms at an even higher risk for (PPD)…those with birth complications. The study also found that mothers who had to manage birth complications were 174% more likely to suffer (PPD) than moms that had no birth complications. Examples of birth complication include: preterm labor, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, breech presentation and hemorrhage.
There is a wide range of PPD symptoms including extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying, irritability, sleeping too much or not enough, and eating too much or not enough. Some moms have extreme anxiety about hurting themselves or their baby. Onset of PPD is typically between one week and one month following childbirth, although symptoms can show up anytime in the first year.
Researchers speculate the reason for the increased rate of PPD in boy-moms and following birth complications is related to inflammation. Inflammation is the immune system reacting to a threat and raising the alarm to fight it. Any time the immune system is activated for long periods, it places stress on the body. Pregnancy activates the immune response no matter your baby’s gender, but researchers think a male fetus produces a stronger response and more maternal stress.
What can you do to protect yourself, friends or clients from PPD? Know the risk factors and symptoms to intervene early. Two screening tools are Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen (EPDS) or Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Ask your doctor about PPD and follow up frequently if you have the risk factors. Have your doctor’s number on hand and talk with your partner or other family members about the symptoms of PPD, they may be the first to notice your symptoms.
If you are a health care provider, be sure PPD is part of a routine new mother appointment since 10-15% of new moms suffer from some form of mood disorder. It is always helpful to develop a good relationship with patients prior to delivery, easing anxiety about potentially difficult conversations like PPD symptoms.
For more information about PPD visit https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml