If there was a simple blood test that could tell you whether you would have postpartum depression, would you take it? One has been developed and is thought to be five years away from hitting the market.
Eighty percent of new moms are thought to experience what is known as "baby blues," mood swings, feelings of ambivalence towards motherhood, and bouts of crying for no apparent reason. The main cause is a fluctuation in hormones.
But postpartum depression is a more severe condition, where women perpetually feel sad, anxious, hopeless, guilty and worthless. They're irritable, can't sleep or concentrate and have thoughts of death, suicide or harming their baby.
Fourteen percent of women who've had children, and those who have been pregnant without having a full-term pregnancy, have postpartum depression (PPD). This accounts for approximately 882,000 women in the U.S.
A team led by Professor Dimitris Grammatopoulos recently published a study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, claiming that women are more sensitive to stress hormones during pregnancy because of changes in estrogen levels, and that those with the genetic variations are unable to balance out those levels once they give birth.
By taking a blood sample of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy, researchers believe they can help identify those with genetic variations that are thought to lead to PPD, so they can give moms-to-be a heads up that they should seek support throughout her pregnancy, as well as afterwards, so they have someone to talk about their feelings with, and potentially lessen the effects of the disorder, so they and their babies remain safe and healthy.
I know two women who are the sweetest people in the world and are now loving, devoted moms who've experienced PPD. They hated themselves for not feeling a connection to their newborns. Within weeks, they felt they weren't good enough moms and that they were in some way letting their children down. One in particular, felt her child could never love her because of it, and that thought alone helped her spiral into more of a depression, because the thing she wanted most in the world was to be a good mom.
What a horrible thing to experience when you've just had one of the most amazing things happen in your life. You've given life to a gorgeous, precious being, and you can't even enjoy the moment. Just the thought of that makes me sad! But in my friends' cases they found help, and are now able to talk about it with other moms and pregnant women—making them aware of the signs. I'm so proud of them both!
TELL US: Are you worried about having Postpartum Depression? Would you take the test to find out if you'd have it?
Image of the depressed womancourtesy of Shutterstock.