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20 August 2014 - Cambridge University News- Breastfeeding linked to lower risk of postnatal depression

A new study of over 10,000 mothers has shown that women who breastfed their babies were at significantly lower risk of postnatal depression than those who did not.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

Please find the underpinning open access research paper here:

Borra et al, 2014 - New Evidence on Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression

A discussion of the research paper can be found here:

20 August 2014 - NHS - Is breastfeeding inability causing depression?

The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, used data drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Survey of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a study of 13,998 births in the Bristol area in the early 1990s. Maternal depression was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale when babies were 8 weeks, and 8, 21 and 33 months old. Depression was also assessed at two points during pregnancy, enabling the researchers to take into account mothers’ pre-existing mental health conditions.

This is one of the largest studies of its kind; as well as being one of the few studies taking into account mothers’ previous mental health, it also controls for socioeconomic factors such as income and relationship status, and for other potential confounders such as how babies were delivered, and whether they were premature.

“Breastfeeding has well-established benefits to babies, in terms of their physical health and cognitive development; our study shows that it also benefits the mental health of mothers,” says Dr Maria Iacovou, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Sociology and a Bye Fellow at Fitzwilliam College.
“In fact, the effects on mothers’ mental health that we report in this study are also likely to have an impact on babies, since maternal depression has previously been shown to have negative effects on many aspects of children’s development.”
Dr Iacovou believes that health authorities should not only be encouraging women to breastfeed, but should also provide a level of support that will help mothers who want to breastfeed succeed.

The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, used data drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Survey of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a study of 13,998 births in the Bristol area in the early 1990s. Maternal depression was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale when babies were 8 weeks, and 8, 21 and 33 months old. Depression was also assessed at two points during pregnancy, enabling the researchers to take into account mothers’ pre-existing mental health conditions.

This is one of the largest studies of its kind; as well as being one of the few studies taking into account mothers’ previous mental health, it also controls for socioeconomic factors such as income and relationship status, and for other potential confounders such as how babies were delivered, and whether they were premature.

“Breastfeeding has well-established benefits to babies, in terms of their physical health and cognitive development; our study shows that it also benefits the mental health of mothers,” says Dr Maria Iacovou, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Sociology and a Bye Fellow at Fitzwilliam College.

“In fact, the effects on mothers’ mental health that we report in this study are also likely to have an impact on babies, since maternal depression has previously been shown to have negative effects on many aspects of children’s development.”

Dr Iacovou believes that health authorities should not only be encouraging women to breastfeed, but should also provide a level of support that will help mothers who want to breastfeed succeed. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/breastfeeding-linked-to-lower-risk-of-postnatal-depression#sthash.9PSrQ8jA.dpuf
The study, by researchers in the UK and Spain, and published today in the journal Maternal and Child Health, shows that mothers who planned to breastfeed and who actually went on to breastfeed were around 50% less likely to become depressed than mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. Mothers who planned to breastfeed, but who did not go on to breastfeed, were over twice as likely to become depressed as mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/breastfeeding-linked-to-lower-risk-of-postnatal-depression#sthash.9PSrQ8jA.dpuf
The study, by researchers in the UK and Spain, and published today in the journal Maternal and Child Health, shows that mothers who planned to breastfeed and who actually went on to breastfeed were around 50% less likely to become depressed than mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. Mothers who planned to breastfeed, but who did not go on to breastfeed, were over twice as likely to become depressed as mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/breastfeeding-linked-to-lower-risk-of-postnatal-depression#sthash.9PSrQ8jA.dpuf
The study, by researchers in the UK and Spain, and published today in the journal Maternal and Child Health, shows that mothers who planned to breastfeed and who actually went on to breastfeed were around 50% less likely to become depressed than mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. Mothers who planned to breastfeed, but who did not go on to breastfeed, were over twice as likely to become depressed as mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/breastfeeding-linked-to-lower-risk-of-postnatal-depression#sthash.9PSrQ8jA.dpuf