Study Shows Postpartum Depression Occurs Years After Childbirth

15 Jul Study Shows Postpartum Depression Occurs Years After Childbirth

In regards to their patients with postpartum depression, Vancouver healthcare providers should take a cue from a recent study conducted by Australian researchers. The Guardian Liberty Voice recently reported that a study found that women may develop postpartum depression much later after childbirth–as much as four years after childbirth.

Study Findings

The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 women and found that nearly 15 percent reported postpartum depression when their child was 4 years old. The researchers also discovered that the same women who developed postpartum depression four years after childbirth had also been diagnosed with depression either during their pregnancy or the first year postpartum.

In addition, women who had only one child had were found to have a higher risk for postpartum depression than women who had multiple children within the first four years after childbirth. The high-risk women in this study also belonged to the same demographic who are typically at a higher risk for earlier postpartum depression: low-income mothers, young mothers, mothers who were abuse victims and mothers who went through stressful or significant life events.

Postpartum depression symptoms are often overlooked years after childbirth because they mimic symptoms that mothers of 4-year-old children typically experience. Nearly one in three first-time mothers report postpartum depression at least once during the four years after childbirth. According to the one of the study’s co-authors, doctors may fail to spot postpartum depression symptoms in more than half the woman who are struggling with the condition in their early parenting years.


Doctors are advised to be aware that the risk of postpartum depression does not go away after the postpartum period. Postpartum depression can strike at any time, even years after childbirth. During their children’s routine checkups, doctors should ask mothers–especially first-time mothers–how they are coping with the demands of motherhood. Mothers can be more vulnerable to depression as their children gets older, just from the daily stresses associated with motherhood. The sooner postpartum depression symptoms are diagnosed, the sooner a mother can get treatment and better handle the task of raising her child (or children).

Postpartum depression is not to be taken lightly. It can affect your ability to properly care for your child. Left untreated, postpartum depression can have a lasting adverse effect on your child. Children of depressed mothers are more likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems, delayed cognitive development, social interaction problems and depression in their early years. For the sake of your mental and emotional well-being and that of your child, do not hesitate to reach out for help if you feel you need it.

Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of nor feel guilty about. Your symptoms may be beyond your control, but the choice to seek treatment is still very much in your control. If you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression, a Vancouver psychologist and family therapist is just a phone call or email away.