Eating Disorders, Abuse Make Women More Prone to Depression

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According to a new study, women who had previously suffered an eating disorder or some form of physical or sexual abuse are more likely to develop postpartum depression. The number is particularly staggering when you consider that one in every 10 women typically struggles with postpartum depression at some point after their pregnancy.

As a result of their findings, the researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine insist that regular mental health screenings should be merged with typical prenatal care.

"Pregnancy and the postpartum period is a very vulnerable time for women" -- the study's lead author Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, director of UNC's Perinatal Psychiatry Program, said in a university news release.

"Screening by obstetrical providers is really important because they can refer patients for appropriate treatment," she added. "And that can prevent long-lasting problems for mom and baby.

"The message we need to get out is that these things are incredibly common and routine screenings need to occur," said Meltzer-Brody. "[Pregnancy] is a time when people are really motivated to make changes and get treatment, because that can have serious consequences for how you do and for how your children do."

In the United States, approximately six to eight percent of women develop some sort of eating disorder. On top of that nearly 25 percent experience some sort of physical or sexual abuse.

This study appeared in the Journal of Women’s Health.

 
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