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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,


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?

Join The Conversation
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
I had twin boys and NO PPD....well...of course i had my anxieties that come with tackling having twins. But i was never severely depressed. Never. :D
gossipqueen7 gossipqueen7 9 years
i had a girl and i had the baby blues bad for 2 weeks after i gave birth but i guess thats not the same thing as PPD because it started getting better after those first 2 weeks
annebreal annebreal 9 years
I don't think the French study had a large enough sample size - and like you said, there's other factors to consider. And the fact of the matter is they only had 16 women with post-partum depression to study. The Chinese study just confused me, because of this: "This was the first pregnancy for about half of the women in both groups. The proportion of women who had a spontaneous vaginal delivery for this birth was twice as high among women who gave birth to a boy as among those who gave birth to a girl (40% vs. 23%). Sixteen percent of women who gave birth to a boy had had four or more pregnancies previously compared with 9% of those who gave birth to a girl." I guess my assumption is the other half had had miscarriages in the past? It's never stated, but I assume this population is under the one child rule so...yeah, very confused.
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