Postpartum depression linked to birthing pain

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Controlling pain during childbirth may reduce the risk of postpartum depression.

Pain and postpartum connection

Katherine Wisner, MD, Northwestern Medicine perinatal psychiatrist, wrote an editorial in Anesthesia & Analgesia based on a new Chinese study which found women who had pain control via epidural anesthesia had a much lower risk for postpartum depression than those who did not. “Maximizing pain control in labor and delivery with your obstetrician and anesthesia team might help reduce the risk of postpartum depression,” Wisner noted.

Almost double the rate of depression

The Chinese researchers found that women who had an epidural for pain relief during vaginal labor delivery had a 14% rate of depression six weeks after birth. This compared to nearly 35% in the women who had no pain relief. “These findings are quite exciting and further research should be done to confirm the especially in women at increased risk of postpartum depression and in women from other cultures,” Wisner stated.

Overlooked relationship

“It’s a huge omission that there has been almost nothing in postpartum depression research about pain during labor and delivery and postpartum depression,” Wisner continued. “There is a well-known relationship between acute and chronic pain and depression.”

Monitoring postpartum depression

Identifying and managing postpartum depression helps support a mother’s ability to care for and bond with her child. Postpartum depression affects almost 15% of women who give birth. “Pain control gets the mother off to a good beginning rather than starting off defeated and exhausted,” Wisner theorized. “Whether it’s vaginal or cesarean section delivery, pain control postpartum is an issue for all new mothers. There is no way to have a delivery without pain. The objective here is to avoid severe pain. Controlling that delivery pain so a woman can comfortably develop as a mother is something that makes a lot of sense.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Anethesia & Analgesia

 
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