A recent medical study has led to the conclusion that blood tests can identify postpartum depression. Scientists have explained that determining instances of depression among new mothers is possible through blood markers.
The need to study postpartum depression, its factors and its possible treatments has become all the more important given the diffusion of this medical affection among young mothers. Based on recent statistics, approximately 20 percent women suffer from postpartum depression, but up until now researchers have not been able to explain why this mental affection appears.
The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Virginia and its findings have been published in the journal Frontiers in Genetics. Jessica Connelly, an assistant professor at the aforementioned university told the press that women, who have suffered of depression before the pregnancy were more likely to develop postpartum depression.
However, there are many women who have not been diagnosed with any mental illness and yet, they suffer from severe depressions after the birth. It was particularly this group of mothers that scientists wanted to focus on. Thus, they have analyzed the samples that were gathered during the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children by scientists at the University of Bristol.
They have been, thus, able to conclude that the hormone called oxytocin is responsible for the changes of mood that new mothers go through during the first postpartum months. This hormone renders mothers more caring and loving during the first months of motherhood, but it can lead to the opposite effects in women with very low levels of oxytocin.
The oxytocin levels may be determine in advance with the help of the genetic and epigenetic markers. The latter help scientists estimate whether women will experience low levels of this hormone and whether they will need additional supplements to regulate hormonal activity.
Women, who experience postpartum depression tend to be reckless and, at times violent with their newborn babies. For that matter, researchers believe it is important to find a solution to this mental affection so children could be better protected.
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