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Newborn gender as a predictor of postpartum mood disturbances in a sample of Swedish women
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Reproduktiv hälsa/Sundström Poromaa)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, University Hospital.
Helena Venizelos, Maternity Hospital, Athens, Greece.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Ulleråker, University Hospital.
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2011 (English)In: Archives of Women's Mental Health, ISSN 1434-1816, E-ISSN 1435-1102, Vol. 14, no 3, 195-201 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition that affects about 10% of newly delivered women. The aim of this study was to examine the possible association between offspring gender and risk for development of PPD in Sweden. The study was undertaken as part of the UPPSAT project, a population-based longitudinal study in Uppsala, Sweden. From May 2006 to June 2007, women who gave birth at Uppsala University Hospital and fulfilled the inclusion criteria were asked to participate. The participating women filled out, at three points during the first 6 months after delivery, questionnaires containing the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale as well as questions concerning various lifestyle factors, medical history, breast feeding habits, social support parameters, and diet factors. No significant difference in risk of PPD in relation to baby gender could be shown 6 weeks and 6 months after delivery. However, women who gave birth to a male offspring had a significantly higher risk of self-reported depressive symptomatology 5 days after delivery. The association remained statistically significant after adjustment for possible confounders in a logistic regression model. This longitudinal study demonstrates that, in Sweden, the gender of the offspring is not associated with a higher risk for self-reported postpartum depression in the mother 6 weeks or 6 months after delivery. The birth of a baby boy, however, gives the mother a higher risk of postpartum blues 5 days after delivery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 14, no 3, 195-201 p.
Keyword [en]
Depression, Postpartum, Postnatal, Gender, Newborn, Risk factor
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-149394DOI: 10.1007/s00737-011-0211-9ISI: 000290536200003PubMedID: 21311924OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-149394DiVA: diva2:404902
Available from: 2011-03-18 Created: 2011-03-18 Last updated: 2016-06-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Biological and Psychosocial Aspects of Postpartum Depression
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biological and Psychosocial Aspects of Postpartum Depression
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Postpartum depression (PPD) is one of the most common complications of childbirth around the world. Despite several studies on the underlying mechanisms, the pathophysiology remains elusive. The aims of this thesis were to assess possible associations between the risk for self reported PPD and serum levels of leptin, the season of delivery, the gender of the newborn, and the history of premenstrual symptoms, respectively.

A population based cohort of 2318 newly delivered women in Sweden were screened five days, six weeks and six months postpartum, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. This cohort comprised 60% of the total population, and the prevalence of self reported PPD was 11.1% six weeks after the delivery.

A negative association between leptin levels at delivery and self reported PPD at six weeks and six months postpartum was evident, even after adjusting for confounding factors. 

An increased risk for self reported PPD was noted among women delivering during the last three months of the year, compared to those giving birth in April through June. This is of clinical importance, since women delivering at the end of the year could benefit from a closer follow-up after delivery. 

Despite previous varying findings – depending on study population and consequently different cultural settings – in our study, no association between infant gender and self reported PPD could be detected at six weeks or six months postpartum. However, women giving birth to baby boys had a higher risk for postpartum blues.  

Lastly, an increased risk for self reported PPD among women with a history of premenstrual symptoms was noted. Interestingly, after stratification for parity, the association between PPD and premenstrual symptoms remained only among multiparas. The association between PPD and premenstrual symptoms might shed light on the many possible routes by which hormonal changes may influence mood in women.

In conclusion, this population based study strengthens the notion that PPD is a complex multifactorial disorder, with biological, social and psychological parameters shaping each individual’s risk.  Further research is needed in this field, in order to investigate underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, propose more effective diagnostic tests and assess therapeutic interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 71 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 751
Depression, postpartum, biological, seasonality, gender, premenstrual
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychiatry; Obstetrics and Gynaecology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-170818 (URN)978-91-554-8302-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-05-11, Rosénsalen, Akademiska sjukhuset, ing 95/96, Uppsala, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2012-04-12 Created: 2012-03-13 Last updated: 2012-04-19

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Sylvén, Sara MPapadopoulos, Fotios C.Sundström-Poromaa, IngerSkalkidou, Alkistis
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