Easing Labor Pain May Reduce Postpartum Depression In Women

Managing labor pain may do more than easing the birth experience; it may reduce depressive symptoms in the postpartum period, finds a research conducted by American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 22 to 26 in Chicago.

After accounting for pre-existing depression and anxiety, post-delivery pain and other factors already known to increase the risk for postpartum depression; researchers found that alleviating labor pain which is arguably the most significant risk factor, might help reduce the risk for postpartum depression.

“Labor pain matters more than just for the birth experience. It may be psychologically harmful for some women and play a significant role in the development of postpartum depression,” said Grace Lim, M.D., Grace Lim, MD, director of obstetric anesthesiology at Magee-Women’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who is also the lead investigator. “We found that certain women who experience good pain relief from epidural analgesia are less likely to exhibit depressive symptoms in the postpartum period.”

In the study, the percent improvement in pain (PIP) of 201 women who used epidural analgesia during labor were calculated, and Depression risk assessed six weeks after childbirth using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Lim and colleague noted that the higher the PIP scores, the lower the EPDS scores.


American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). "Easing labor pain may help reduce postpartum depression in some women."

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