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Women who delay pregnancy for career are more prone to postnatal depression

New Delhi, Wed, 21 Mar 2012 NI Wire

There is a word of caution for the careerist women who delay their marriage until they are established in their careers. A recent study has found that such women are more prone to post-natal depression.

The reasons for this vulnerability could be given as these mothers often 'over-prepare' for their first-born and get tense when things are not going accordingly.

"There are some indications that older, first-time mothers are vulnerable to postpartum depression, perhaps because they are used to being in control of their own lives: they have completed a long education and established a career before they have children," Silje Marie Haga research leader, from the University of Oslo, in Norway has been quoted as saying to the Daily Mail.

"But you can't control a baby; on the contrary, you have to be extremely flexible.

"Several of the women I interviewed said themselves that this contributed to the huge feeling of letdown when things did not turn out as they had planned," Haga explained.

The latest study was conducted on around 350 new mothers as well as detailed interviews with 12 first-time mothers. The study shows that 16.5 per cent among them reported suffering from depression for up to six months after delivering.

Haga said the interviews highlighted a number of risk factors apart from biological ones.

"It's not the need for control in itself, but rather the failure to achieve specific expectations that can trigger a depression," she stated further.

"In contrast, women who take a more relaxed approach to motherhood with more undefined expectations cope better with unexpected challenges," she explained.

Other women struggled after the delivery left them 'feeling like a failure'.

"In my study the women who had the greatest need for control often had the strongest wish to have a natural birth," Haga observed.

Haga further added that difficulties related to breastfeeding could also initiate depression as there is a huge societal pressure to give preference to breast over bottle.

Haga said new mothers needed both practical and emotional support - particularly from their partner - as well as an understanding that life can be exhausting for them.

--with inputs from ANI

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