Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Risk of postpartum psychosis increases with age

This report appeared on the website EMax Health last week, and talks about new research led by Christina M. Hultman, PhD, of the Karolinksa Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Researchers found that half of women diagnosed with postpartum psychosis have no history of mental illness, and that the risk of postpartum psychosis is greater in women over age 35 who give birth for the first time.

Why is this important?
Other research has shown that women who achieve their preferred delivery method enjoy better psychological post-birth outcomes than women who don't. So if a woman plans a vaginal delivery and ends up needing an emergency cesarean, she may feel more negative about her birth experience than if she has a spontaneous vaginal delivery. Similarly, it has been shown that women who choose a cesarean delivery, and go on to have a cesarean delivery, have a much greater level of post-birth satisfaction than those who don't.

Women are not homogeneous creatures, and we should focus on supporting the individual's delivery preference rather than trying to enforce a 'one size fits all' approach to maternity care.

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