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Women Living In Urban Areas Are Most Likely To Develop Post Partum Depression

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By: Britt L

According to the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, women who live in urban areas are more likely than women in rural areas to develop postpartum depression.

Commonly, in their first couple of weeks after delivering a baby, women’s hormonal drives shift. The change after birth causes anxiety, moodiness and tearful moments.
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The symptoms eventually cease. Moodiness, crying and depression after baby birth is known as “the baby blues.”

However, between 10 and 15 percent of those women develop continuous, severe depression during the first 12 months after their baby’s birth, according to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the women who develop the depression live in urban neighborhoods, not rural areas.

“The risk factors for postpartum depression – such as having low levels of social support and being born outside of the country – are more common among women living in urban areas,” said Dr. Simon Vigod, a researcher at the women’s college in Toronto.

In a 2006, Vigod and her research team found a survey of 6,126 new mothers to determine whether where they lived might influence their postpartum depression risk.

A little over 7.5 percent of the women surveyed reported depression symptoms. The startling percentage was above the cutoff for postpartum depression, Canadian medical Journal, CMAJ wrote.

Women living in cities of 500,000 people or more accounted for nine percent of the women who had post tantrum depression. Only six percent of women who developed the depression were living in rural areas – towns with 1,000 or fewer.

“It’s not the air that you breathe in an urban area that makes you depressed,” Vigod explained to Reuters Health. “It’s actually that the population characteristics of people living there are different,” the doctor added.

Vigod and her colleagues also found that urban women do not have adequate social support during pregnancy or after giving birth.

Because of these statistics, the Women’s Institute was able to explain the higher depression risk among urban women.

Even though Vigod accounted for the urban woman’s depression, she did not uncover why risk factors were so low for women in rural areas.

“Perhaps social support should be assessed a little bit more explicitly than it is now,” Vigod said. “For women at risk it’s such a strong variable. Perhaps it’s worth the cost of trying to increase social support systems.”