Postpartum Depression Linked to Boys?
Study Shows Giving Birth to Boys May Raise Risk of Severe Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Depression and Sex of Baby continued...
The study is published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical
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.
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
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."