Studies Find New Young Moms Are at High Risk of Postpartum Depression
Research efforts from UVA Health, an academic health system comprising of local hospitals, physicians, and researchers, have brought findings of a new study to light. The study revolved around mothers and postpartum depression, revealing that new, young moms of twins are the most at risk for this illness.
Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the study revealed responses on the ‘After Childbirth Survey’ and with this found that, “Postpartum depression symptoms was highest among 18- to 24-year-olds.”
First-Time Moms and Mothers Younger Than 25 are Identified as Being High Risk
The researchers of the study were from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, and Flo Health. They found that “The risk for postpartum depression is highest among first-time mothers, mothers younger than 25 years old, and mothers of twins.”
National Center for Biotechnology Information provides a further explanation to what new, young, and mothers of twins might be feeling during this time. “Transient depression (baby blues) is very common during the first week after delivery. Women may notice feeling down, anxious, mood swings, crying spells, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. Postpartum blues typically resolve within two weeks.”
Online academic articles provide possible reasons behind postpartum depression. “Some women experience becoming a mother for the first time as a time of stress and poor emotional wellbeing, leading to psychological distress (including depression and anxiety) if they feel unable to cope effectively.”
Along with new and young moms, mothers older than 40 years of age who gave birth to twins were next on the high-risk list.
Global Involvement Creates Significant Findings
More than 1.1 million mothers across the globe were surveyed in the study. With an extensive study undertaken and numerous individuals involved, the findings are highly significant and definitive.
Jennifer L. Payne, MD, the study’s senior author and director of the Reproductive Psychiatry Research Program at the UVA School of Medicine, said, “Most studies on postpartum depression are small and confined to a small region. This study answers questions about risk factors for postpartum depression from a worldwide sample.”
Postpartum Depression Symptoms Experienced in Different Age Groups as Well
According to the study findings, “The rate of postpartum depression steadily declined by increasing age, dropping to 6.5% for 35- to 39-year olds, before increasing slightly to 6.9% among women 40 and older.”
Also interesting to note, across all age groups, postpartum depression symptoms were significantly lower among women who had previously had children compared with first-time moms, irrespective of age.
Women Older Than 40 Having Twins are at “Markedly High Risk” for Postpartum Depression
Researchers of the study found the following with regards to mothers of this age group:
- 11.3% of mothers older than 40 with twins reported symptoms of postpartum depression, compared with 8.3% of mothers of a single child
- 15% of mothers older than 40 with twins reported postpartum depression symptoms, compared with 6.6% of mothers of one baby.
Better Understanding of Postpartum Depression Risk Factors and Potential Health Effects on Mother and Child
Currently, there is a growing need to not only identify high-risk individuals and risk factors that place women at elevated risk but a need to gain a better understanding of these risks for postpartum depression.
Recent studies, in this regard, are thus vital in helping mothers – both young, first-time, and those older than 40, to avoid the negative effects of postpartum depression and ensure early detection and intervention.
Thanks to the study, high-risk mothers are now identified, risk factors for postpartum depression and the potential health effects on both moms and their children are identified as well.
“There is a growing necessity to identify risk factors that place women at elevated risk, prior to the onset of affective illness, during this vulnerable time period so that preventive measures can be instituted,” said the researchers.
Mothers who fall victim to the illness can also develop psychiatric disorders. This, in turn, can create developmental challenges for children along with lower IQs and slower language development. “Early intervention can prevent the negative outcomes associated with postpartum depression for both mothers and their children.”
Caring for New and Young Moms and Mothers of Twins
Researchers of the new study concluded, “Most women with postpartum depression are not diagnosed or treated. Clinicians caring for new mothers can be aware of factors like age, first pregnancy, and twin pregnancies that put women at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression and perform screening and intervention earlier. ”
Intervention can involve health professionals who affirm new moms’ competence by giving positive feedback and proactively giving them necessary and reliable information. “Reassure them that their baby is behaving normally, to treat them with compassion while acknowledging the magnitude of the life transition, and to enable their partner or family member to provide effective practical support,” ScienceDirect advises.