Postpartum Depression & Pain Management In Birth- What The Findings Of A New Study Mean To You

By Expert Contributor Katie Kovaleski

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New research is alleging that there is a link between lack of pain management and an increased rate of postpartum depression. This study was based on a group of 214 women, half of whom received an epidural and half who did not.

“Researchers found that 14 percent of women who had the epidural had postpartum depression and 34.6 percent of women who didn’t have the epidural had postpartum depression. The study also noted that women who attended childbirth classes during pregnancy and who breastfed after delivery also had decreased risks of postpartum depression.” 

This research doesn’t conclude that epidurals are the answer but rather that having a solid pain management plan even for natural births might be helpful. “While there are medication interventions for pain control, you can also have a pain plan if you choose to have a natural birth. Talk to your doctor, midwife or partner about different options for pain management that might be available, such as changing positions, birthing balls, water, massage or breathing techniques.

The key here, much like many parenting topics, seems to be preparedness. The study also mentions the importance of attending birthing classes and mentions that breastfeeding may be a potential factor in lowering those postpartum odds too. Whatever birthing plan you choose, make sure you prepare and educate yourself on how to make labor and post-labor as smooth as possible.