By baby teeth chart
July 29, 2015

To make matters worse, it's not always so easy to figure out who's at risk for developing PPD. Sure, there are some indicators, like lower levels of the hormone oxytocin and previous bouts of depression. However, for every woman who satisfies those requirements, there are many others who don't. For some new mamas, the serious illness seemingly hits without much rhyme or reason.

But as a team of researchers from the U.S. and England have discovered, there are markers, or proteins, in the blood that may signify whether you're at an increased risk of developing something more than just the "baby blues." Specifically, those markers are found in the oxytocin receptor gene. Oxytocin helps during childbirth, bonding with baby, regulating moods, and lowering stress levels.

Though it won't eliminate PPD, finding those markers in a blood test before you give birth can help you prepare for the swell of emotions that hit once baby arrives. "We can greatly improve the outcome of this disorder with the identification of markers, biological or otherwise, that can identify women who may be at risk for its development," Jessica Connelly, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and senior author of the study, said in a press release. "We know that women who have experienced depression before pregnancy are at higher risk of developing depression in the postpartum period. However, women who have never experienced depression also develop postpartum depression. These markers we identified may help to identify them, in advance."

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Frontiers in Genetics.

Though promising, these findings aren't necessarily written in stone—yet. In this study, scientists analyzed samples from a U.K.-based longitudinal study. Researchers say they'll need to reach a similar conclusion in other population-based samples before confirming. Still, if true, this news would arm women who are at risk of developing PPD with the knowledge they need.

Don't forget to sign up to receive our free Parents Daily Baby newsletter!

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Photo of

new mom courtesy of Shutterstock

Comments (1)

December 4, 2018
Quick tip for all you parents all out there: My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website >>>>SleepBaby .org<<<< - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! Sorry, you can't post links here so you'll have to turn it into a normal link. >>SleepBaby .org<< Best of luck to you and your family! :)