Having a planned caesarian section does not reduce a woman’s risk of suffering from postnatal depression, doctors said Friday.
New mothers are as likely to experience depression after giving birth whether they go through labor and a natural delivery or an elective caesarian.”The method of delivery does not influence your risk of having postnatal depression,” said Deirdre Murphy, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Dundee in Scotland.She and her colleagues assessed postnatal depression in more than 14,000 women who filled in questionnaires eight weeks after delivering a healthy, full-term baby. Their findings are reported in the British Medical Journal.About one in every 10 women suffers from postnatal depression, according to Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists.Doctors do not know what causes it. A past history of depression or psychiatric illness and a previous bout following an earlier delivery increase the odds of postpartum depression.Poor social circumstances, pregnancy at a very young or older age, being a first-time mother and difficult life events around the time of birth may also raise the risk.Murphy said it can be treated with therapy, support networks and antidepressants.”The course (of the illness) is anything from weeks to months or even longer,” she told Reuters.Murphy said the findings show that expectant mothers who have a history of depression do not need to be managed differently during the birth than other women.”It suggests that a worry about postnatal depression is not good grounds for offering caesarian section,” she added.The results of the study are also reassuring for women who have a complicated delivery because they show it does not put them at a higher risk of postnatal depression.About half of all women feel a bit emotional or weepy on the third or fourth day after giving birth. This is known as “the baby blues,” according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.But the “baby blues” usually pass quickly.Postnatal depression may also be linked in some cases with huge hormonal changes that take place at the birth, when levels of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones drop suddenly after the baby is born.(Source: British Medical Journal: Reuters Health: Patricia Reaney: February 2005.)