Postnatal Depression More Likely After Having a Baby Boy

A new study of 296 women by the University of Kent’s School of Anthropology and Conservation, has found that those giving birth to a baby boy are 79% more likely to experience postnatal depression (PND), compared with women having a baby girl. Additionally, women whose births had complications were 174% more likely to experience PND compared to those women who had no complications.

The researchers decided to assess whether there was a relationship between the sex of infants and PND because of the known link between inflammatory immune response and the development of depressive symptoms. Both the gestation of male foetuses and the experience of birth complications, have documented associations with increased inflammation, but until this study, their relationships with PND were unclear.

Many known risk factors for depressive symptoms are now being associated with activation of inflammatory pathways in the body.

(Male infants and birth complications are associated with increased incidence of postnatal depression. Social Science & Medicine, January 2019. Accessed on line 8 November 2018.)

Robin’s comment: Women with a tendency towards depression and anxiety are known to be at increased risk of postnatal depression. Perhaps one day we will be advising these women, when pregnant, especially if they know they are carrying a boy, to tilt towards the (anti-inflammatory) Mediterranean diet. See my article of 26 September 2018 under Depression.