Incontinence May Increase Risk of Postpartum DepressionA new Canadian study discovers that women with urinary incontinence after giving birth are almost twice as likely to develop postpartum depression as those without incontinence.

The surprise finding is an important contribution as postpartum depression can negatively affect mother, child, partner, and other children in the family.

According to experts, up to 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression and an estimated 10 to 35 percent of women will experience a recurrence.

Wendy Sword, Ph.D., and colleagues from McMaster University’s School of Nursing initially set out to examine the relationship between mode of delivery and postpartum depression at six weeks following hospital discharge.

The researchers evaluated almost 1,900 new mothers, of which one-third had C-section deliveries.

Almost 8 percent had postpartum depression at six weeks after discharge.

The research team found no association between postpartum depression and mode of delivery, and this finding is consistent with previous studies. But the five strongest predictors of postpartum depression are revealing: the mother being less than 25 years old; the mother having to be readmitted to hospital; non-initiation of breastfeeding; good, fair, or poor self-reported postpartum health; and urinary incontinence or involuntary urination.

“We were surprised to find that urinary incontinence is a risk factor for postpartum depression,” said Sword.

“Urinary incontinence following childbirth has not received much attention as a factor contributing to postpartum depression and we do not yet fully understand the reasons incontinence is linked to depression.”

Sword notes that urinary incontinence is not an uncommon problem after giving birth, and although women may be embarrassed by this issue, it is important that they talk to their health care providers about their concerns.

She adds that health professionals should also be proactive and ask women about any bladder problems as part of their postpartum assessments, as it is important to identify problems early so that appropriate action can be taken to improve symptoms and women’s well-being.

Their findings are published online in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Source: McMaster University