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Breastfeeding status and duration may affect postpartum depression risk

by Vaishali Sharma

Using a large national population-based dataset of 29,685 women residing in 26 states, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and colleagues looked at current breastfeeding status in relation to postpartum depression risk.
The study’s findings were published in the journal “Public Health Nursing.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 11 and 20 percent of women in the United States who give birth each year suffer from postpartum depression, which is the leading cause of maternal suicide and infanticide. Given the 4 million births each year, this translates to over 800,000 women suffering from postpartum depression each year. Nursing may lower a woman’s risk of postpartum depression, according to current biological and psychological theories of breastfeeding. Prior research, on the other hand, had only looked at the start of nursing and the length of breastfeeding. Furthermore, ungeneralizable results with low statistical power have been produced by small and frequently homogeneous samples with skewed results due to greater levels of education, income, and proportion of white participants relative to the general population of the selected nation.

According to the findings of this study, postpartum depression is a serious health concern among American women, with approximately 13% of the sample being at risk. The findings revealed that women who were nursing at the time of the study had a statistically significant decreased risk of postpartum depression than women who were not.

Furthermore, there is a statistically significant link between the length of nursing and the incidence of postpartum depression. Women’s postpartum depression decreased as the number of weeks they nursed rose. There was no significant difference in postpartum depression risk across women with different nursing intentions, which was surprising (yes, no, unsure).

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