In May we were privileged to get Kathleen Kendall-Tackett to speak at a seminar we hosted in London. Kathleen is a leading authority on depression in mothers and on the relationship between breastfeeding and depression. We are pleased to let you know that the videos we made on the day are now available to view online. Please feel free to share these videos with your colleagues and through your networks.

A New Paradigm for Depression in New Mothers

Recent research has revealed that systemic inflammation, the immune system response to physical or psychological threat, increases the risk of depression. Puerperal women are especially vulnerable because proinflammatory cytokines significantly increase during the last trimester of pregnancy, the time when women are most at risk for depression, and continues on through the postpartum period. In addition, common experiences of new motherhood, such as sleep deprivation, postpartum pain, and psychological trauma, also cause inflammation levels to rise. This session will describe the inflammatory response and its relation to physical and psychological stress. This session will also show why breastfeeding and anti-inflammatory treatments, such as Omega-3s, cognitive therapy and antidepressants, protect maternal mental health by lowering the inflammatory response.

What’s New in Postpartum Depression Research: Recent Findings on Breastfeeding and Depression, Birth Interventions, and Preterm Birth

A number of recent studies have raised questions about the way we understand depression in new mothers. For example, what is the role of depression in breastfeeding cessation and does mothers’ prenatal intention to breastfeed make a difference? Researchers have also found that epidurals lower the risk of depression, but the sample sizes are often small. Finally, a concerning trend has emerged regarding the link between depression, PTSD, and preterm birth. Women with depression or PTSD are at increased risk for preterm birth. The World Health Organization has recently identified preterm birth as the single greatest cause of infant mortality worldwide. These findings also have important implications for racial/ethnic disparities in both preterm birth and infant mortality. This presentation will summarize and synthesize these recent studies and present new findings from the Survey of Mothers’ Sleep and Fatigue that address the link between birth interventions and depression in mothers.