Researchers from the University of Kent surveyed almost 300 women and found the odds of developing postnatal depression increased 79 percent after giving birth to a boy.

Other research has linked depression, and particularly postnatal depression, to an immune response in the body called inflammation.

Carrying a male foetus increases inflammation more than carrying a female foetus.

The study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, also found that women whose births had complications were 174 percent more likely to experience postnatal depression than women with no complications.


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Postnatal depression is thought to impact up to one in seven mothers, but often goes undiagnosed — so the researchers say their investigation reveals two factors that may help to identify at-risk mothers.

“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 study co-author Dr Sarah Johns in a statement.

That support can make a difference. The study found that women with symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress have a higher risk of postnatal depression — but that they are also more likely to seek and receive support after birth.

“Postnatal depression 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,” Johns concluded.

How do you feel about this finding? Agree or disagree?

Share your comments below


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  • Can happen when you have a girl as well.

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  • Interesting, but would need more research.
    I haven’t experienced so myself.

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  • Tend not to believe it – two boys and one girl no problems at all, but the other girl sure gave me pnd.

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  • I had pnd after I had my 2 boys but actually felt a lot better having my girl. Maybe because with her I wasn’t throwing up for 7 months straight and could leave the house. I think there is a whole lot more to why it happens than just boy or girl.

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  • An interesting article though it would be interesting to see the full study

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  • I wonder if it’s a hormonal link? More research is needed.

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  • I find this really interesting – I am wondering if there are bonding issues with a male child or if it is purely hormonal. I know people who have given birth to both genders and had PND for girls as well.

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  • That is interesting – I would like to read more about this.
    My first was a boy and I had post natal.


    • I hope there would be studies relevant to Australia. Possibly worth a search.

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  • I have seen PND across the spectrum with easy and difficult births and with all genders – other factors have also impacted.

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  • I wish they had this information around for my first live birth as he was male and I nearly died having him. My mother told me it was the baby blues. I think it might had been PND as I felt alone and nothing was going right with him or me. Not until I had my 2nd son did I know it was different having the baby in my arms after birth , child birth was not so bad. I did have a girl in between but she only survived a few minutes. My other sons and daughters have not been as bad as number one or two babies.

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  • Interesting study it’s a very interesting article

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  • Don’t know. I just had a girl and, luckily for me, I didn’t suffer of PND.

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  • Well I had a baby boy first, then a baby girl, not sure I pnd with either of them. One of the lucky few maybe ???

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  • I don’t know enough to agree or disagree but anything that can help pinpoint vulnerable people and allow extra support to be directed is a good thing.

    Reply

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