Postpartum Depression Relieved By Other Mothers' Help

two women smiling outdoors( — Postpartum depression is overseen by family members and husbands when sometimes a mother of newborn feels tired and worn out. The mothers only know the feeling and sometimes cannot cope with it. A Canada study shows that mothers who went through this stage and overcame the difficulty can help the other mothers cope.

“Mothers who received this support were at half the risk of depressive symptoms 12 weeks after delivery,” says study leader Cindy-Lee Dennis, PhD, Canada research chair in perinatal community health at the University of Toronto.

It’s the first big study to show that postpartum depression can be prevented without intensive home care, Dennis says.

The study included 701 women at risk of postpartum depression. Half got standard postnatal care and half got peer support. With standard care, 25% of the mothers had significant depressive symptoms 12 weeks after delivery. About half as many women who got peer support — 14% — had such symptoms.

After an extensive review of existing research, Dennis saw that efforts to prevent postpartum depression were most effective if begun soon after a woman gives birth — and if they were home based.