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Postpartum Depression May Be a Gender Thing

Could Postpartum Depression Be a Gender Thing?


Baby blues can strike any new mum but a recent study, released by the Journal of Clinical Nursing suggested that the baby's sex played a role in postpartum depression. It said:

When we launched our research, our main aim was to study the effect that gender has on PND. But the overwhelming finding of the study was the fact that gender appears to play a significant role in reduced quality of life as well as an increased chance of severe PND.

The study surveyed 181 French women during their four to eight weeks postpartum period. Of those moms, about 16 suffered from postpartum depression. And of that nine percent, over three–quarters had given birth to boys.

To learn more about gender differences and postpartum depression, read more.

Professor Claude de Tychey who led the research, also cited past studies. He said:

Previous studies have shown that women who live in cultures where greater value is placed on sons are more likely to suffer from PND if they give birth to a girl. However, we believe that this study – carried out in a French community where women didn’t face cultural pressures over the sex of their baby – is the first to show that women who give birth to boys are more likely to suffer from severe PND and reduced quality of life.

To that point, in China, where gender favoring is common, the opposite seems to be true. A study performed in China found that women who delivered girls were more prone to postpartum depression. It said:

Because prenatal factors do not appear to have been associated with the occurrence of postpartum depression, the investigators suggest that if a woman gives birth to a girl, a lack of familial support—stemming from a desire for sons to carry on the family name and provide economic support to their parents—may make her more vulnerable to postpartum depression.

Unfortunately, the absolute cause of postpartum depression has not been discovered. Theories and studies may have some validity, but there are so many contributing factors it's hard to pinpoint one — a mother's own gender preference, her family's or country's bias, hormones, economic status, or mental stability — as the culprit.

What are your thoughts on postpartum depression?
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