Early History of Depression Linked to Perinatal Depression

infant_VinothChandar-flickr.jpg

Out of 1,000 women who experienced depression during or after pregnancy, 85 percent had symptoms of depression or anxiety earlier in life.

This is according to a 20 year study done at a children’s research center in Australia. It suggests that perinatal (before or after delivery) mental health issues are not random, but is frequently related to the mother’s psychological history.

Early Emotional Well Being Important

Having this awareness is good news, since those who are more susceptible to perinatal depression can prepare for the possibility ahead of time. The study also highlights the importance of facilitating the emotional health of adolescent and young adult women.

“These years have become much more difficult for this generation with the transition through education to employment being longer and more complex, the path to a long-term relationship also more difficult, as well as these being years where financial pressures are greater than in previous generations,” said lead researcher Professor George Patton.

“There is a very important question as to whether we have the policy settings and investments that we are making in young people right.”

Being Prepared

Not every pregnant woman with an earlier experience of anxiety or depression will develop perinatal depression. However, those with a history of symptoms may want to prepare for the possibility by having a strong support network in place. Confiding relationships with family members, friends, support groups, and a familiarity with available resources can help sufferers get through difficult times.

Some women may want to enlist the services of a mental health counselor so they enter pregnancy enjoying the best emotional and mental health possible, and have professional support in place should they later require it.

The researchers also hope their study will emphasize to medical professionals that, beside physical health and nutrition, pregnant women need their emotional well-being regularly assessed.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo credit: Vinoth Chandar

 
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