Study: Women who give birth in winter less likely to have postpartum depression

Many women are affected by postpartum depression, and a new study sets out to investigate potential risk factors and whether it’s possible to avoid them.

The study’s findings, which were presented at the Anesthesiology Annual Meeting, looked at the correlations between postpartum depression and the mother’s body mass index, the gestational age of the baby, and the time of year the child was born.

By reviewing the charts of over 20,000 women, the researchers found new mothers who have a higher body mass index are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. 

The longer the baby has stayed in utero, the less likely a mother is to have postpartum depression difficulties. 

Seasons of the year also had an effect. If a woman gave birth in the winter, postpartum depression was less likely to take hold, as compared to summer births which had the highest instances of postpartum depression.

RELATED: Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

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Risk factors for complications during pregnancy
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Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

Advanced maternal age

Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers age 35 and older.

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Lifestyle choices

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

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Medical history

 A prior C-section, low birth weight baby or preterm birth — birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy — might increase the risk in subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors include a family history of genetic conditions, a history of pregnancy loss or the death of a baby shortly after birth.

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Underlying conditions

Chronic conditions — such as diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy — increase pregnancy risks. A blood condition, such as anemia, an infection or an underlying mental health condition also can increase pregnancy risks.

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Pregnancy complications

Various complications that develop during pregnancy pose risks, such as problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta. Other concerns might include too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) or low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), restricted fetal growth, or Rh (rhesus) sensitization — a potentially serious condition that can occur when your blood group is Rh negative and your baby's blood group is Rh positive.

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Multiple pregnancy

Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying twins or higher order multiples.

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