New Moms

New babies don't fix depression

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Depression and anxiety resulting from miscarriage and stillbirth do not go away with the birth of a new baby. This is according to a study by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers and published in British Journal of Psychiatry.

“Our study clearly shows that the birth of a healthy baby does not resolve the mental health problems that many women experience after a miscarriage or stillbirth,” said Emma Robertson Blackmore, PhD, assistant professor of Psychiatry at the Medical Center and lead researcher. “This finding is important because, when assessing if a woman is at risk of antenatal or postnatal depression, previous pregnancy loss is usually not taken into account in the same way as other risk factors such as a family history of depression, stressful life events or a lack of social support.”

Pregnancy loss affects more than an estimated one million women in the US each year.

“We know that maternal depression can have adverse impacts on the children and families,” Robertson Blackmore said. “If we offer targeted support during pregnancy to women who have previously lost a baby, we may be able to improve health outcomes for both the women and their children.”

An assessment of mental health history should include the loss of a pregnancy as a predictor of potential onset of depression.

“We found no evidence that affective symptoms associated with previous prenatal loss resolve with the birth of a healthy child. Rather, previous prenatal loss showed a persisting prediction of depressive and anxiety symptoms well after what would conventionally be defined as the postnatal period,” the report concludes.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, ScienceDaily