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Epidurals may decrease risk of postpartum depression, researcher says

Written by: QMI AGENCY
Jul. 23, 2014

(Fotolia)


Getting an epidural may curb a woman's risk of developing postpartum depression, a new report says.

In an editorial in Anesthesia and Analgesia, Northwestern Medicine perinatal psychiatrist Katherine Wisner writes about a recent Chinese study that found women who had pain control during vaginal childbirth had a much lower risk for postpartum depression.

"It's a huge omission that there has been almost nothing in postpartum depression research about pain during labour and delivery and postpartum depression," Wisner wrote. "There is a well-known relationship between acute and chronic pain and depression."

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The Chinese study found women who had an epidural had a 14% rate of depression six weeks after giving birth compared to a 35% rate for women who didn't have any pain relief. The study also found breastfeeding was more common in the group who had an epidural — 70% versus 50%.

Wisner called the results "exciting" and said more research should be done to confirm them.

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