Calgary

Postpartum depression decreases with support, Calgary study finds

A new study by Calgary medical researchers says there is a link between the rate of postpartum depression in new mothers depending on the access to assistance and support if they are finding trouble breastfeeding.

About 90% of women studied reported problems with breastfeeding

Emma Stuart Campbell says she experienced postpartum depression trying to breastfeed with her son Finn when he was a baby. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

A new study by Calgary medical researchers suggests there is a link between the rate of postpartum depression in new mothers and how much access they get to assistance and support if they have trouble breastfeeding.

For some mothers, the first year with their baby can be difficult. 

"Just feeling a lot of anxiety, and being really over tired and really overwhelmed," said Emma Stuart Campbell, whose son Finn is now three years old

She had problems breastfeeding him and received conflicting medical advice that led to her experience postpartum depression, she says. 

Helping new mothers access support has a great impact on postpartum depression, according to medical researcher Dr. Kathleen Chaput. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

The Calgary researchers say that's not uncommon.

They studied more than 400 new mothers and found that 87 per cent of new mothers report moderate or severe breastfeeding problems  and nearly all of them received some form of breastfeeding advice or help. 

 "As long as that support is positive, even the moms with quite severe breastfeeding difficulties have a reduced rate of depression," said University of Calgary medical researcher Dr. Kathleen Chaput. "So the advice and support and services they receive for breastfeeding difficulties have a big impact."

The researchers want to use their findings to help educate frontline caregivers who assist new mothers.

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