Postpartum anxiety common, linked to reduced breast-feeding


Women are far more likely to experience anxiety -- versus depression -- immediately after childbirth, and this condition is linked to reduced breast-feeding and other adverse outcomes, suggests a new study in Pediatrics. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University followed 1,123 mothers who gave birth between 2006 and 2009 and who intended to breastfeed. Based on standardized interviews, 17.1% experienced anxiety during at the hospital, compared with 5.5% who experienced depression. A positive anxiety score during a maternity stay was associated with reduced breast-feeding in the first 6 months, and the association increased among first-time mothers. A weaker link was seen between depression and reduced breast-feeding. Mothers who experienced anxiety were more likely to use health care services. Screening for anxiety during the postpartum stay could improve outcomes, the authors conclude. Read the abstract.

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