Abuse and Postpartum Depression

Creative Commons License photo credit: sprout_creative

Postpartum depression is, without a doubt, a serious concern. It’s important to do what we can to not only try to prevent postpartum depression, but to be able to seek help when it does happen. Postpartum depression can rob you of some of those most joyful early days of your baby’s life.

Yet, there’s another factor that we need to think about in that vein. Apart from just the hormonal changes and the life impact of having a baby, there are other potential contributing factors to postpartum depression.

One of those factors, according to a recent study from Australia, may be spousal abuse.

Abuse common for women with postpartum depression

In this study, around 40 percent of women who experienced postpartum depression also experienced emotional or physical abuse from a partner. Those statistics are staggering.

The researchers looked at more than 1,300 women, of whom about 16 percent reported symptoms of postpartum depression. Around 40 percent of those women also experienced either emotional or physical abuse.

For women who were emotionally abused, the risk of having postpartum depression was about three times other women. For women who were physically abused, the risk jumped to four times that of other women.

Other contributing factors

There were other contributing factors that made postpartum depression more likely, as well, including:

  • Depression during pregnancy
  • Unemployment during early pregnancy
  • Issues with nutrition during pregnancy

Postpartum depression comes later

Another important discovery from this study was the fact that postpartum depression came later for many women, regardless of whether they were abused. A significant number of the women didn’t experience depressive symptoms until about three months after their baby was born.

This study suggests that there should be more exploration of the connection between abuse and postpartum depression. It also suggests that medical professionals need to be on the lookout for postpartum depression much longer after a baby is born than what happens typical.

So, what about you? Have you had any experiences with postpartum depression? What kinds of things did you do to seek treatment? What was effective for you, and what didn’t work as well?

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