The Link Between PMS and Postpartum Depression

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postpartum depression researchI’ve said it more than once in speeches and been told I was wrong by an expert or two. There’s no data, they said. Yet it only makes sense to me that those of us who are highly sensitive to hormonal changes would be more likely to experience mood problems all across our lifespan. And it’s not just me. I have heard this from the thousands of women I have spoken to throughout the 8+ years I’ve been doing this blog. Sure, a history of PMS wouldn’t be the only risk factor for PPD, but certainly it is one, right?

Mood problems with PMS? Check.

Postpartum depression? Check.

Mood seriously affected prior to periods during perimenopause? Double freaking check.

More than one person has told me no. Now a study from the University of Iowa published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health finds that there is an association between premenstrual symptoms and a risk for postpartum depression.

Yes. We could have told you that. And now there’s some data. It will be interesting to see whether more studies come out finding the same.

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The Latest from MGH on Postpartum Depression Research

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I’ve been meaning to let you know about a host of new research articles over at the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health blog, so here’s a quick list:

Folic Acid and Risk of Perinatal Depression: Is There An Association?

Lithium Use During Pregnancy: What Are the Long-Term Effects?

Mindfulness Yoga for the Treatment of Depression During Pregnancy: A Pilot Study

Pregnancy Outcomes in Women with Eating Disorders

Depression During Pregnancy Increases the Risk for Pre-Term Birth

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Moms With Postpartum Depression Have Shorter Kids? Not So Fast!

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postpartum depression height shortIt was all over the news this week.

NBC News – Depressed Moms Might Have Shorter Kids, New Study Suggests

Huffington Post – Postpartum Depression Linked to Shorter Children

Time Healthland – Moms’ Depression May Lead to Shorter Kids

CBS News – Kids of Moms Who Had Postpartum Depression More Likely to Be Short by Age 5

PsychCentral – Mom’s Depression Linked to Shorter Kids (really, Psych Central? You, too?)

MedLine Plus – Postpartum Depression May Lead to Shorter Kids

This line in particular, from the MedLine Plus article, made my head explode: “What it comes down to is a kind of neglect,” she added.

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that moms with postpartum depression have shorter kids.  And like any piece of research about postpartum depression, especially one that’s negative, news of the study spread like wildfire across the media.

It’s not like moms with PPD don’t have enough to worry about as it is. We’re already drowning in guilt, thank you very much. We know that if our postpartum depression or anxiety remains untreated that our children may suffer certain consequences. But height? Really? We’re making our kids shorter? [Read more…]

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Help Microsoft Develop Diagnostic Tools for Postpartum Depression

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postpartum depressionFinally, finally, FINALLY people are starting to pay attention to how much time new mothers spend on social media, how that may impact their experience with postpartum depression, and how we might utilize social media to create programs that support women with PPD or help identify women with PPD. Welcome to the 21st century!!

This is great news. I’ve been gently hinting to researchers for years that they need to be paying more attention to blogs, Twitter and Facebook, and now it’s starting to happen. There was this study, for one, finding that blogging provides relief to new moms.

And now Microsoft (yes, that Microsoft) is conducting research to see if computers can identify, based on what a mom tweets or posts to Facebook or her blog, whether she may be suffering from postpartum depression. From Microsoft Research:

The primary purpose of this study is to help us determine whether we can use what people say in social media (e.g., in their Facebook status updates or Twitter feeds) as indicators of postpartum depression. For instance, someone might be talking about feeling even more tired than normal for having just had a baby. If this study is successful, we may be able to build unobtrusive diagnostic tools that can help new moms recognize the signs of possible postpartum depression in order to enable them to seek appropriate medical care or counseling.

Here are the eligibility requirements for the research, which I believe many of you will meet:

  • be a female over the age of 18;
  • be a legal U.S. resident;
  • have given birth between 1 month and 3 years ago, and
  • post to your Facebook or Twitter account at least once per week.

To sweeten the pot, four participants in Microsoft’s research survey will be chosen at random to receive $500 Amazon gift cards. Not bad!

Please click this link to learn more about the research and to participate, if you would like. Note that any information you provide will be completely confidential and never shared. Also, please share this post with others who you think might be a good fit.

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