Young Mothers Struggle More
A poor relationship with a husband or partner during pregnancy is the biggest predictor of maternal emotional distress, such as depression. New research, published in the journal BMC Public Health, reveals that women who were the most dissatisfied with their relationships with spouses or partners were the most likely to suffer from depression during pregnancy. The Norwegian study of nearly 50,000 women shows that the amount of support the pregnant women received from partners had the strongest link with mental health. Researchers also found that younger mothers struggled more with coping during pregnancy. Experts believe that depression and anxiety during pregnancy may result in low birth weight or premature birth.
Not Only Due to Estrogen Loss
Up to 70 percent of new mothers experience symptoms of depression within the first week after giving birth. While, the symptoms dissipate in most cases, up to 13 percent of women experience clinical level postpartum depression (PPD). Fluctuations in estrogen have been to blame but now new research reveals that, while estrogen levels drop 100 to 1000 fold after giving birth, levels of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) increase dramatically throughout the brain. MAO-A is responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, and, ultimately, for controlling our moods. By balancing MAO-A, this research “could have an impact on prevention and treatment of postpartum depression in the future", says lead author Julia Sacher.