depression, research, science, mental health, seasonal, winter, cold, weather,

Postpartum Depression Could Be Seasonal

Anesthesia and gestational duration can also play a role.

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THE SCIENCE

A recent study suggests that mothers who delivered further along, in winter, and with anesthesia were less likely to suffer from postpartum depression (PPD) than those who gave birth in spring, without epidurals. 


EXPERT INSIGHT

Mothers delivering during winter and spring might have more seasonal protection against PPD, says lead study author Jie Zhou, M.D., of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. When it's cold outside, it’s easier to stay home and bond with a baby, he explains.

Women who did not have anesthesia may have been at an increased risk for PPD because the pain during delivery could have been traumatizing; it's possible those who declined anesthesia just happened to have genetic characteristics that made them more vulnerable, explains Zhou. And the higher the gestational age, or the further along a woman is in her pregnancy, the more mature the baby will be at delivery, typically. "The mother will do better and be less mentally stressed when delivering a mature, healthy baby," he says.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Researchers don't suggest timing your pregnancy to a certain time of year but rather talk with your doctor about monitoring your mood post-pregnancy, no matter when you deliver. And make sure to partake in exercise you enjoy, which can help boost your mental state.