Postpartum pain may be linked to increased postpartum depression in mothers
As we continue to look at risk factors for postpartum depression, recent research suggests that monitoring pain experienced by mamas after childbirth may be more indicative in making a connection.


Postpartum depression (PPD) is serious, and in so many ways, the postnatal care of a mother is pivotal to her recovery and her bonding with her baby. Now researchers believe that postpartum pain after giving birth may be linked to postpartum depression, as opposed to pain association while giving birth being an increased risk factor.

The research was presented at the 2018 Anesthesiology Annual Meeting. Dr. Jie Zhou is the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of anesthesia at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He said that while previous research focused on pain during childbirth, this study is the first to look at postpartum pain and identify it as a risk factor for postpartum depression.

Related: Study Finds Mothers Of Baby Boys More At-Risk For Postpartum Depression

Dr. Zhou said that while it's important to look at managing labor pain, the research suggests managing postpartum pain for mothers after the baby is born may be just as important for preventing postpartum depression.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims one in nine women suffer from PPD symptoms and that can lead to poorer bonding and lower rates of breastfeeding in new mothers.

Dr. Zhou's team looked at pain scores that went from the start of labor to discharge from the hospital at Brigham and Women's between 2015 and 2017. They found that PPD was strongly associated with those who said they had higher postpartum pain. The mothers with PPD also had more pain-related complaints after birth and were more likely to have had C-sections that required more pain management.

Related: How 'Mom-Shaming' Contributed to My Postpartum Depression

While other factors contribute to PPD risk, Dr. Zhou believes that better monitoring of mothers after they've given birth and ensuring they have appropriate postpartum care can possibly make a difference in whether they suffer from PPD.

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