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Postpartum depression linked to ‘unwanted pregnancies'

By Tim Sandle     May 15, 2013 in Health
Women who carry unintended pregnancies to birth seem more likely to suffer postpartum depression than those who planned to conceive a child, according to some new research.
Postpartum depression (or postnatal depression) refers to a type of clinical depression which can affect women typically after childbirth. Symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability.
The higher incidence of depression among mothers is linked with unintended or unwanted pregnancies according to a new study by the University of North Carolina. For the study, the Examiner notes, a research group which questioned around 700 participants about pregnancy intention at 15-19 weeks gestational age and then monitored their progress over a year-long period.
It was found that postpartum depression was more likely in women with unintended pregnancies at both three and twelve months, with the trend being particularly pronounced after the full year, showing the long-term implications of this association.
The report suggested that clinicians may wish to consider assessing pregnancy intention during antenatal visits and offer appropriate support.
Dr Rebecca Mercier of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of North Carolina is quoted as saying: "Simple, low-cost screening interventions to identify women at risk could allow targeted intervention when appropriate and could potentially prevent complications from future unintended pregnancies."
The research has been published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
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