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  • Emergency CS May Put First-Time Moms at Higher Risk of Postpartum Depression

    That said, doctors perform an emergency C-section when they believe a natural delivery can put you and your baby in danger.
    by Rachel Perez .
Emergency CS May Put First-Time Moms at Higher Risk of Postpartum Depression
PHOTO BY iStock
  • A new study has found that first-time moms who deliver via emergency C-section (ECS) are 15% more likely to develop postpartum depression (PPD). The link between unplanned C-sections (CS) and postnatal depression was based on data gathered from 5,000 first-time mothers from the U.K. Millennium Cohort Study by researchers from the University of York. 

    The researchers focused on the effects of ECS on a mom's psychological well-being during the first nine months after childbirth and took into account other factors such as hospital resources and the new mom's mental health history.

    "Unplanned caesareans may have a particularly negative psychological impact on mothers because they are unexpected, usually mentally and physically stressful and associated with a loss of control and unmatched expectations," explains Dr. Valentina Toneifrom the Department of Economics at the University of York, via a press release.

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    Aside from its high cost, a C-section has a longer recovery time than vaginal birth and can lead to breastfeeding struggles, additional burdens to a new mom who is already feeling overwhelmed with her new role. The study makes a valid case to offer first-time moms who delivered via ECS more mental health support.

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    Dr. Tonei added, “The effects of postnatal depression can be far-reaching, with previous studies suggesting that it can have a negative effect, not just on the health of the mother and her relationships with her partner and family members, but also on the baby’s development."

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    About eight to 10 percent of women who give birth develop PPD. If it's not PPD, about 15 to 20 percent of new moms may also suffer from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS), which include anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even psychosis and bipolar disorder after giving birth and can extend beyond when their children are already in their teens.

    If you look closely a the red flags for women who are most at risk for developing mental health conditions after childbirth, having an ECS may fall under either having a traumatic birth or having a high-risk pregnancy. Check out the warning signs below, which are based on a list created by licensed marriage and family therapist Meri Levy, M.F.T., who is also a member of Postpartum Support International (PSI).

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    • Women with a history or family history of depression and other mental health illnesses
    • Women who suffered significant loss or traumatic birth
    • Women who had a hard time getting pregnant
    • A high-risk pregnancy or an unplanned pregnancy
    • New moms who are struggling with breastfeeding or handling a colicky baby
    • Relationships problems and financial difficulties

    If you fall within the scope of women who are more likely to develop PPD and PMADs, don't be afraid to discuss it with your doctor during your postnatal checkups. Ensure you'll have extra hands and a lot of support during your fourth trimester by sitting down with your partner and your family to create a postpartum care plan

    From the beginning, do include in your birth plan contingencies just in case you need to deliver your baby via surgery. Remember, you prepare for birth plans, but you cannot set it in stone. You need to allow yourself to plan for the unexpected like an emergency C-section if your doctor deems it's the safest way to deliver your baby.

    If you are feeling anxious, helpless, or despondent. If you need someone to talk to:

    • Crisis Line +633 893-7603 / +63 917 800-1123 / + 63 922 893-8944
    • Manila Lifeline Center at +632 896-9191 or +63 917 854-9191
    • Department of Health's 24-hour suicide prevention hotline Hopeline +632 804-4637 / +63 917 558-4673 and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.

    You can also join SOS Philippines on Facebook, a support group founded for survivors of suicide loss and Filipinos who have mental health conditions.

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