Women with familial support have reduced risk of postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is one condition that many women are advised to look out for following the end of their pregnancy. After the delivery, women will likely experience a flood of positive and negative emotions, one of which may be depression, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, a new study has found that strong family support during pregnancy may be able to reduce the chances of a woman developing postpartum depression after giving birth.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles determined that expectant mothers may benefit from receiving support from their families. The positivity surrounding them is thought to lower levels of the stress hormone in pregnant women. 

"Now we have some clue as to how support might 'get under the skin' in pregnancy, dampening down a mother's stress hormone and thereby helping to reduce her risk for postpartum depression," said lead author Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook, Ph.D., a UCLA National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral scholar in psychology.

As more research becomes uncovered on this topic, experts will continue to look for ways that mothers can receive the support necessary to reduce their stress levels throughout their pregnancy calendar.

Examining the symptoms of postpartum depression
Women who are experiencing pregnancy for the first time may want to educate themselves about postpartum depression, which they may be susceptible to up to one year after giving birth. This condition is thought to be caused by fluctuating hormone levels in the body following delivery, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Lifestyle changes and alterations to relationships as a result of the new baby can also encourage the development of postpartum depression.

Some of the most common symptoms of this condition are insomnia, fatigue, severe mood swings and difficulty bonding with the new child. "Baby blues," which can affect moms on a less severe level, may result in anxiety, loss of sleep and sadness. However, these emotions tend to naturally disappear a few weeks after the arrival of the infant. Women who notice lingering feelings of depression should speak to their primary care physician as soon as possible to discuss their symptoms. Counseling and hormone therapy are simple, common treatments that can provide relief to new mothers feeling these negative emotions.

Have you ever experienced the "baby blues?" How have you handled the ups and downs of being a new mom? Leave your feedback in the comments section!