Is caesarean section linked to postnatal depression?

According to a recent study elective Caesarean section does not protect women from postnatal depression. Emergency caesarean section or assisted vaginal delivery (use of forceps or vacuum extraction) do not indicate a possible increased risk of postnatal depression. The theory that women at risk of postnatal depression should be managed differently in childbirth is now questioned.

Using a recognised scale to assess postnatal depression 14,000 pregnant women completed a questionnaire eight weeks after giving birth to a single infant at full term There was no evidence that elective caesarean section increased the odds of postnatal depression in comparison with planned vaginal delivery. There was little proof of a difference among planned vaginal deliveries and women who had an operative delivery.

A history of depression is not a reason for women to be managed differently when it comes to delivery of their baby.

If emergency caesarean section or assisted vaginal delivery is required, women can be reassured that there is no reason to believe that they are more likely to experience postnatal depression. This research should also help women make more informed decisions about childbirth.

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