Postpartum depression linked to mother’s pain after childbirth

Science Daily | October 2018| Postpartum depression linked to mother’s pain after childbirth

A research study from the US is the first to differentiate postpartum pain from labour and delivery pain and identify it as a significant risk factor for postpartum depression.  Although earlier studies have suggested that the experience of pain in childbirth is linked to post natal depression; the researchers posit that pain experienced by women after birth and delivery could be responsible for postnatal depression. 


The research group reviewed pain scores (from the early stages of labour to hospital discharge) for more than 4,000 first-time mothers delivering a single child vaginally or by caesarean delivery (C-section) in the period  between June 2015 and December  2017. The researchers compared pain scores to the mothers’ Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EPDS) scores one week after delivery.

The study’s authors  found postnatal depression was significantly associated with higher postpartum pain scores. Mothers with postnatal depression demonstrated more pain-related complaints during recovery and often needed additional pain medication. They noted that women in the postnatal depression group were more likely to have delivered by C-section. They also had more reports of inadequate postpartum pain control (via Science Daily).

The study’s findings have been recently presented at the Anestheology 2018 annual meeting.

Read the full news story from Science Daily 

Pregnant women recognize baby expressions differently depending on mental health history

Science Daily | October 2018 | Pregnant women recognize baby expressions differently depending on mental health history

A small-scale pilot study has found that expectant mums who have a history of depression or bipolar disorder interpret babies’ facial expressions and how they laugh or cry, in a different way to mums who have not experienced depression or bipolar disorder (control group). The research team found this to be the case even if the pregnant women are not currently experiencing mania or depression and could potentially identify an early-risk factor for the children (Source: Science Daily).


This was a pilot study comparing 22 pregnant women, with a history of depression, and 7 with bipolar disorder also currently well,  with 28  pregnant women with no history of mania or depression. In addition, 18 non-pregnant women were also tested as controls.

The findings of the study have been presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s (ECNP) Congress in Barcelona.

Full story at Science Daily 


Relationship Between Mindfulness and Posttraumatic Stress in Women Who Experienced Stillbirth

Huberty, J., Matthews, J., Cacciatore, J., Buman, M. P., & Leiferman, J. |2018|  Relationship Between Mindfulness and Posttraumatic Stress in Women Who Experienced Stillbirth|  Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing|

A new study has examined the relationship between mindfulness and Posttraumatic Stress (PTS) in women who have experienced stillbirth. 




To explore the potential factors that mediate the relationship between mindfulness and symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS) in women who experienced stillbirth.



A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data before women’s participation in an online mindfulness intervention (i.e., online yoga).



This was a national study, and women participated in their own homes.



Women who experienced stillbirth (N = 74) within the past 2 years and resided in the United States.



Women were recruited nationally, primarily through social media. Participants (N = 74) completed baseline assessments (self-report mental and physical health surveys) via a Web-based survey tool. We conducted an exploratory factor analysis of the COPE Inventory subscales to reduce the number of variables before entry into a mediation model. We then tested the mediation effects of sleep quality, self-esteem, resilience, and maladaptive coping on the relationship between mindfulness and PTS symptoms.


Through the exploratory factor analysis we identified a two-factor solution. The first factor included nine subscales that represented adaptive coping strategies, and the second factor included five subscales that represented maladaptive coping strategies. Results from multiple mediation analysis suggested that mindfulness had a significant inverse relationship to PTS symptoms mediated by sleep quality.


Mindfulness practices may have potential benefits for grieving women after stillbirth. Evidence-based approaches to improve sleep quality also may be important to reduce PTS symptoms in women after stillbirth.


This article is available to Rotherham NHS staff  and can be requested by contacting the Library 

National Neonatal Audit Programme – 2018 Annual Report on 2017 data

Healthcare Quality Improvement Programme | September 2018 | National Neonatal Audit Programme – 2018 Annual Report on 2017 data

The National Neonatal Audit 2018 Annual Report on 2017 data published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) shows key achievements made in neonatal care for preterm babies in England, Scotland and Wales. The report contains key findings and selected recommendations for quality improvement of neonatal care going forward (Source:HQIP).


The audit finds progress in the following areas:

  • more very preterm babies being admitted to neonatal units with a normal temperature;
  •  rates of magnesium sulphate administration to mothers at risk of very preterm birth significantly increasing.

Included in this year’s report are new meaures which focussed on
parental partnership in care; looking at minimising separation of mother and baby, and the presence of parents on consultant ward rounds.  The National Neonatal Aduit Programme hopes that these measures will support neonatal units to achieve a partnership with parents in providing care. This year they also describe how many of the least mature babies are delivered in units best suited to care for them. Their final new measure describes, for the first time, how many babies develop necrotising enterocolitis.

Full details from HQIP’s executive summary 

Download the full report 

Your baby’s care 



Women want a personalised birth experience, but safety is paramount

NIHR | September 2018 | Women want a personalised birth experience, but safety is paramount

A review of studies that sought the views of 1800 women about what matters most to them about childbirth, found that having a health baby was the most important. This review considered what matters to women, rather than relying on surveys of women’s satisfaction after giving birth. 


The high quality findings have already informed WHO recommendations on childbirth and so could be useful for commissioners of UK-based maternity services.

Read the full Signal at NIHR 



Perinatal mental health

The Foundation for Mother & Child Health (FMCH), estimates the incidence of a mental health illness in mothers and fathers during pregnancy and after the birth of a child to be more than 1 in 10 women and more than 1 in 20 men around the world.

The causes of mental ill health during this time are reported to be due to a number of factors including Adverse Childhood Experiences, Trauma, Domestic Violence, Poverty and a prior episode of mental illness.  Research shows a mental illness present in either parent during the perinatal period adversely affects the physical and cognitive development of children in the family.

FMCH UK has, in collaboration with ForMed fIlms produced this short 6 minute animation explaining how parents may feel, the help they can access in the UK, and some self help strategies:


Postnatal depression could be linked to fewer daylight hours during late pregnancy

Women in late pregnancy during darker months of the year may have a greater risk of developing postpartum depression once their babies are born. This is consistent with what is known about the relationship between exposure to natural light and depression among adults in the general population | Journal of Behavioral Medicine | via ScienceDaily


In this study, researchers analysed information from 293 women who participated in one of two randomized controlled clinical trials about sleep before and after pregnancy. The participants were all first-time mothers from the US state of California. Data included the amount of daylight during the final trimester of their pregnancy, along with information about known risk factors such as a history of depression, the woman’s age, her socioeconomic status and how much she slept.

Overall, the participants had a 30 per cent risk of depression. The analysis suggested that the number of daylight hours a woman was exposed to during her final month of pregnancy and just after birth had a major influence on the likelihood that she developed depressive symptoms.

The lowest risk for depression (26 per cent) occurred among women whose final trimester coincided with seasons with longer daylight hours. Depression scores were highest (35 per cent) among women whose final trimester coincided with “short” days and the symptoms continued to be more severe following the birth of their babies in this group of women.

Read the full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Deepika Goyal et al. | Shortening day length: a potential risk factor for perinatal depression | Journal of Behavioral Medicine | published online 27th September 2018