By Jak Burke,
Annually up to three million American women suffer from sadness and anxiety after childbirth according to Mayo Clinic. Postpartum depression hasn’t anything to do with unresolved feelings towards motherhood but it does have everything to do with hormones. Good news is that new moms can now be tested for early signs of postpartum depression thanks to a new study published in the most recent copy of Women’s Mental Health. The study was conducted at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. It analyzed 66 healthy pregnant women who were not depressed. The scientists monitored the mothers through-out their pregnancies and six weeks after giving birth – paying close attention to their hormone levels. Out of the 66 moms, 13 manifested postpartum depression. Here’s the interesting point – the same 13 women all had higher oxytocin levels during their gestation.
If a connection can be definitively proven between raised oxytocin levels and postpartum depression doctors will then be able to make both an early diagnosis and an early treatment plan. Oxytocin is an important hormone. It regulates the crucial nurturing emotion and stimulates contractions during childbirth, according to Childbirth Connection. While there’s still a way to go the light is clearly shining at the end of a very dark tunnel for one out of seven moms. Ask your doctor for more information about testing your oxytocin levels especially if your maternal family history shows a sign of propensity for postpartum depression.