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There are many theories regarding why some women suffer from postpartum depression and some don’t, but as of yet, no conclusive evidence that one single factor puts you more at risk than anyone else for experiencing postpartum depression. Postpartum depression has been attributed to breastfeeding, poor relationships, hormones, diet, siblings and much more. Now, there may be another factor at play – where you live. A new study, published recently online in the Canadian Medical Association Journal notes that life in the big city may make you more prone to developing postpartum depression. In the study, women who lived in an urban area had a greater prevalence of postpartum depression than women living in rural, semi-rural or semi-urban areas. The difference was significant too, with 1 in 10 city moms being at risk for depression compared to just 1 in 20 rural moms. The differences in place of residence were unique to the cases of depression, meaning when compared on all other levels, the depression could not be fully explained by other risk factors beyond where the women lived. The study researcher, Dr. Simone Vigod, a psychiatrist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto offers,”Women in larger urban areas might be at higher risk due to social isolation.”
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According to the researchers, prevention programs directed at factors that could be modified, say, taking the bus if driving in traffic stresses you out or seeking out more social support systems, could help reduce the rates of postpartum depression in city dwellers. That’s good news, but really all moms need to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) as it can strike anyone, living situation aside. Get some quick facts below:
Know the signs: There’s blue, and then there’s depressed. It’s smart to know the difference. Many mamas get the baby blues, a very mild form of sadness after (or even before) the baby arrives, but these bouts of sadness come a go and aren’t severe. This is not depression. Real depression can result in extreme sadness or hopelessness, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time, lack of interest in anything, severe mood swings, and/or a feeling of detachment from your baby and other people. See more postpartum symptoms here.
Prevention first: The best cure for PPD is prevention, but since no one knows what causes PPD, prevention isn’t always possible. Still, some research notes that having strong support systems in place, regular prenatal care, regular exercise, breastfeeding, a healthy diet and plenty of sleep can all ward off PPD before it strikes.
Treatment ASAP: If you’re having long bouts of sadness, don’t sit on it, waiting for it to go away. Call your midwife or doctor right away and schedule an appointment. Current research notes that PPD is 100% treatable. If you’re uncomfortable seeing a doctor, please call Postpartum Support International. The sooner you get to the bottom of your symptoms the sooner you can get treatment, begin to heal and then you can really enjoy your baby.