Post-natal depression can last for up to three years, a new study has found.
Researchers at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) analysed data from a nation-wide study in the US and discovered that 1 in four women experienced high levels of depressive symptoms up to three years after giving birth.
Post-natal depression is a common condition which affects many mothers and fathers after they become parents with around 1 in 10 women and men being diagnosed in the US and the UK.PODCAST | PARENT24/7: What is post-partum depression?
Using data from the Upstate KIDS study, which includes babies born to 5000 women researchers assessed the new mothers' mental health through a series of brief depression screening questionnaires.
Out of the 5000, 1 in 4 suffered from high levels of depression for up to three years and the rest of the women in the study reported low levels.
Women with underlying conditions such as anxiety and gestational diabetes were more likely to have higher levels of depressive symptoms throughout the study period.
The research team called for healthcare providers to do more to protect the mental well-being of women and wants mothers to check for depression for at least two years after giving birth.
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