With postpartum depression playing a much more prevalent role in new moms lives now more than ever, science is digging deeper and deeper to uncover some of the reasons why. Mental health is becoming something that is so much more talked about these days (thank goodness), and more and more women are opening up about their struggles without fear so that we can get to the bottom of both postpartum depression and anxiety and find a resolution for new moms everywhere.
A recent study pinpoints that one of the causes is when a new mother has to undergo an emergency c-section (completely unplanned), putting them at a higher risk for developing postpartum depress (PPD).
The study was done by the University of York, lead by author Dr. Valentina Tonei from the Department of Economics at the University. Dr. Tonei, after this studies findings, is calling for more mental health support for new moms everywhere - and we totally agree.
First, there is a difference between a planned and unplanned c-section, and the one part of this study looks at the unplanned ones that occur because of complications during labor.
This study, however, differs from others in the past that have only looked at smaller groups of women. This one compared data from 5,000 first-time mothers from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, which is a sample of the UK population. In addition, they looked at what happened with the new moms nine months after giving birth, as well as examining their mental health history, resources available to them, and the staffing in hospitals when they gave birth.
With that in mind, the numbers don't lie: the number of c-sections is increasing dramatically worldwide. The study points out that "165,000 births in England each year, there are currently around 25,000 unplanned cesarean deliveries."
As in so many of these cases, there is still more research to be done, but this study looks at a few key components as to why there is a correlation between emergency c-section and PPD. Dr. Tonei suggests that when it comes to the mental and physical stresses of the experience, a lot of it boils down to the fact that there were unmatched expectations and that the mother had a loss of control on a situation they had previously thought they had control over.
And lastly, there is the unexpected financial burden of having a c-section that the family hadn't taken into consideration that can play a role in their mental health after having the baby.