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Postpartum Depression Health Center

Postpartum Depression Linked to Boys?

Study Shows Giving Birth to Boys May Raise Risk of Severe Postpartum Depression
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Postpartum Depression and Sex of Baby continued...

The study is published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Previous studies in other countries, including China, India, and Turkey, have associated the birth of girls with a higher risk of postpartum depression, the researchers note in the paper, perhaps because in some cultures boys are preferred to girls.

De Tychey believes this is the first study to link postpartum depression to boys. "We were very surprised by the findings because France has no open gender preference," De Tychey writes in the email.

Second Opinion

A Canadian-based expert on women's mental health took issue with the study. "They are talking about a total of 17 people with severe depression," says Gail Erlick Robinson, MD, director of the Women's Mental Health Program and professor of psychiatry and obstetrics-gynecology at the University of Toronto.

While the 17 women with severe postpartum depression were more likely to have boys, she points out that the 40 women with mild depression were more likely to have girls -- 24 of these women had girls, 16 had boys.

Regarding the finding that women who had boys reported lower quality of life, even if they weren't depressed, Robinson says: "There is a big difference between [lowered] quality of life and depression."

Taking care of a newborn boy may be more stressful, she acknowledges.

But she isn't convinced of a postpartum depression and gender link. "All we have is a statistical finding in their study based on 17 people," she says. "I think that's on pretty weak legs."

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