It’s a pivotal decision for many pregnant women: drugs or no drugs during the delivery.
Choosing whether or not to get an epidural during labor is a personal decision that every woman must make for herself. There are many benefits and risks that come with each option. While epidurals ease pain and allow women to rest and relax, they can also prolong labor and make it harder to push once the baby is crowning.
But one major new discovery could influence many women’s choice when they check in to the hospital.
Recently, a new study by the American Society of Anesthesiologists found that women who get an epidural during labor are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
As many as one in 10 new moms suffer from postpartum depression, which means more woman than ever may soon be opting for epidurals.
Because an epidural blocks pain receptors, it eliminates a lot of the trauma and anxiety of childbirth. Both are factors that can play a role in postpartum depression.
That said, an epidural alone cannot prevent or treat the condition.
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As Dr. Grace Lim of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said, “Postpartum depression can develop from a number of things, including hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, social support, and a history of psychiatric disorders.”
Much to the frustration of the women who suffer from it, doctors are rarely able to tell them exactly what caused their postpartum depression. There are a few things, however, that medical professionals know for sure about the condition.
It doesn’t mean that a woman does not love her baby. It doesn’t mean that she won’t be a good mom. It’s not her fault, or the fault of her partner. The bottom line is, it’s as physical as it is mental, and takes time and support to heal.