Black Women More Likely To Suffer Postpartum Depression, Causing Babies To Have Anxiety

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April V. Taylor

According to FIU researchers, Black mothers and their newborns are more likely to experience problems and issues caused by postpartum depression. Part of this disproportionate impact is due to the higher incidence of preterm births within the Black community.The FIU study was the first of its kind to study the relationship between preterm birth and postpartum depression symptoms among low-income Black and Hispanic and Black mothers and how their children are impacted.

According to the lead author of the study, Nicole E. Barroso, “Preterm birth rates are often higher in minority samples and research suggests that it is due to a combination of factors that put them at risk. Caring for a preterm infant is particularly challenging as premature babies have more medical and temperamental problems.” The study revealed that the earlier an infant is born, the higher levels of depressive symptoms mothers report.

The study was also co-authored by Chelsey M. Hartley, Daniel Bagner and Jeremy Pettit. There were 102 mothers who participated, with infants who ranged in age from 3 to 10 months. Thirty-one of the infants were born before 37 weeks with low birth weights. The women used a self-reporting assessment, with researchers on the look out for symptoms such as feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, fatigue, and thoughts of hurting themselves or their child.

The American Psychological Association reports that children whose mothers suffer from postpartum depression are more likely to become withdrawn and irritable to the point of being inconsolable. They are also at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders and major depression later in life. Seeking treatment early can help minimize negative impacts for the mother and the child. This can be more difficult than most would think it is because at least half of all cases of postpartum depression are not diagnosed.

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