Could giving birth to a boy increase a woman’s risk of postnatal depression?

However, although women with a tendency towards symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress always have an increased risk of PND, the study found that they actually had a reduced risk of the condition after experiencing birth complications.

The researchers commented that because their mental health conditions are already known, these women may receive a greater level of support after giving birth, which also suggests that extra support post-birth may be an effective way of preventing PND developing.

The authors also added that the results highlight two novel risk factors for PND, and recognising that both male infants and birth complications are risk factors should also help health professionals identify and support women who may be high risk.

“PND is a condition that is avoidable, and it has been shown that giving women at risk extra help and support can make it less likely to develop. The finding that having a baby boy or a difficult birth increases a woman’s risk gives health practitioners two new and easy ways to identify women who would particularly benefit from additional support in the first few weeks and months,” said co-author Dr. Sarah Johns.

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