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Mums with breastfeeding difficulties at high risk of postnatal depression

Posted On: July 22, 2011

Washington, July 20 (ANI): The first few weeks after childbirth are a critical period for mother and newborn.

Now, a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that women who have problems breastfeeding in the first two weeks after giving birth are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression two months later compared to women without such difficulties.

"We found that women who said they disliked breastfeeding were 42 percent more likely to experience postpartum depression at two months compared to women who liked breastfeeding," said Stephanie Watkins, MSPH, MSPT, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

"We also found that women with severe breast pain at day one and also at two weeks postpartum were twice as likely to be depressed compared to women that did not experience pain with nursing," she added.

The idea for the study grew from the clinical experience of senior author, Alison Stuebe, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UNC School of Medicine.

"We found that very commonly the same moms who were struggling with breastfeeding were also depressed. There was a tremendous clinical overlap," said Stuebe.

In the study, the researchers assessed the postpartum depression status of 2,586 women and found that those who disliked breastfeeding were during the first week were 1.42 times as likely to be depressed at two months.

Women who reported severe breastfeeding pain on their first day were 1.96 times as likely to be depressed at two months.

The study also emphasizes the importance of new mothers talking to their doctors about breastfeeding difficulties so that they may be screened for depression.

The study is published online ahead of print by the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. (ANI)

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