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Researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and collaborators examined the current state of breastfeeding in association with the risk of postpartum depression using a large national data set based on the population of 29,685 women living in 26 states. The results of the study were published in the journal “Public Health Nursing”.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 11 and 20% of women who give birth each year in the United States have symptoms of postpartum depression, which is the greatest risk factor for maternal suicide and d ‘infanticide. Given that there are 4 million births per year, this equates to almost 800,000 women suffering from postpartum depression each year. Current biological and psychosocial models of breastfeeding suggest that breastfeeding could potentially reduce a woman’s risk of postpartum depression. However, previous studies have only looked at the initiation of breastfeeding and the duration of breastfeeding.

In addition, small and often homogeneous samples gave non-generalizable results lacking in statistical power with biased results due to higher education levels, income and proportions of participants than the general population of the sampled country. The results of this study demonstrated that postpartum depression is a significant health problem among American women with nearly 13 percent of the sample at risk. The results showed that women who were currently breastfeeding at the time of data collection had a statistically lower risk of postpartum depression than women who were not breastfeeding.

In addition, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between the duration of breastfeeding and the risk of postpartum depression. As the number of weeks of breastfeeding women increased, their postpartum depression decreased. An unexpected finding was that there was no significant difference in the risk of postpartum depression in women with different breastfeeding intentions (yes, no, uncertain). “Women with postpartum depression, which occurs within four weeks and up to 12 months after childbirth, endure feelings of sadness, anxiety and extreme fatigue that prevent them from functioning,” Christine said. Toledo, PhD, principal author and assistant. professor at FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

“Women with untreated postpartum depression can also have negative results, including difficulty bonding and caring for their children, thoughts of harm to themselves or their infant. , and are also at increased risk for drug addiction, ”Toledo added. Women who have suffered from postpartum depression have a 50 percent increased risk of suffering further episodes of postpartum depression during subsequent deliveries. In addition, they have a 25% increased risk of suffering from other depressive disorders unrelated to childbirth for up to 11 years later. Postpartum depression increases maternal morbidity and is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

For the study, Toledo and collaborators from the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health, University of North Carolina School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, Seattle University of Nursing and University of British Columbia School of Nursing, analyzed the 2016 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Surveillance System (PRAMS) Questionnaire dataset for study the association of breastfeeding practices taking into account important covariates such as age, race, marital status, education, abuse before and during pregnancy, smoking, among others. “The results of this important study suggest that breastfeeding is a healthy, profitable behavior that may reduce a woman’s risk of postpartum depression,” said Safiya George, PhD, FAU Dean Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing .

“Nurses in particular play an important role in educating and promoting the maternal health benefits of breastfeeding and the benefits for infants, such as providing needed nutrients and protecting them against allergies, disease and infections, ”added George. The co-authors of the study are Rosina Cianelli, PhD; Giovanna De Olivera, PhD; and; Karina Gattamorta, PhD, all with the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies; Natalia Villegas Rodgriguez, PhD, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Danuta Wojnar, PhD, Seattle University of Nursing; and Emmanuela Ojukwu, PhD, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia.

The study was funded by the PhD Scholarly Award from Sigma Theta International, Beta Tau Chapter. (ANI)

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Julio V. Miller

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