Postpartum depression is one of the most widespread types of collapse among women who have given birth. Its consequences are extremely dangerous if untreated. Mental fatigue, anguish, anxiety, the feeling that they do not love their infants, the fear that they will not manage to be good mothers, are only a few symptoms that define the affection.
According to a study published two years ago, 1 in 7 mothers suffer from the disorder in the year they have given birth. Symptoms of postpartum depression mirror those found in classic depression, a notable difference could be that mothers develop negative feelings towards their babies. Mothers usually feel numb and disconnected from the baby, they develop irrational fears about the wellbeing of the infant and a constant worry that they will harm the baby. Along with that, young mothers are exposed to developing a feeling of guilt that they are unable to take care of the baby.
According to the most recent expertise, oxytocin is the hormone responsible with the development of a healthy birth, maternal bonding, lower stress levels and mood regulation. Oxytocin is produced by our brains and it is also known as the “love hormone”, based on its effects.
Mothers who suffer from PPD are thought to have extremely low levels of oxytocin. Like in the case of classic depression, PPD can be extremely difficult to diagnose if the sufferer hides one’s symptoms but a new study reveals that a new blood marker can help identify those at risk.
Researchers guessed that the oxytocin receptor can play an important role in PPD, given the importance of the hormone in developing maternal behavior. The genetic and epigenetic markers in oxytocin are linked, increasing the risk of PPD.
The findings are based on an extensive study guided by experts from the University of Virginia and other top institutions in the US and England. They worked together to examine 545 new mothers, of whom 269 were reported with cases of PPD. They were compared with 276 other young mothers who didn’t show signs of postpartum depression.
Genetic and epigenetic markers in oxytocin act together to increase the chance of a young mother to develop postpartum depression. The findings are based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, performed in the UK and established by study co-author Jean Golding of University of Bristol. Blood markers help identify women with postpartum depression which means that sufferers will benefit from a steady diagnosis rather than speculation over interpretable symptoms.
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