Peer support helps treat postpartum depression

January 16, 2009 1:57:15 PM PST
More than one in 10 new mothers experiences some level of post-partum depression in the year following childbirth. But new research finds this disorder can be effectively treated through peer support. Women struggling with postpartum depression may want to talk to other mothers who have gone through the same thing.

Two new studies show that talk therapy and caring communication can help new mothers deal with their depression without the need for antidepressants. A British study of 4,000 mothers found that those who received visits from health care workers trained to recognize and treat the disorder were 40-percent less likely to have depression symptoms three months after giving birth.

A Canadian study ---mothers were half as likely to develop symptoms when they received support over the telephone from mothers who had experienced the disorder themselves.

Both studies are published in the current online edition of the British Medical Journal.