One in six mothers suffers from postpartum depression (PPD) in France, according to a report published this Tuesday by Public Health France.
To reach these conclusions, French researchers worked with a sample of 7,133 women who gave birth in 2021 in France. Only early postpartum depression was analyzed, that is, depression that begins before the end of the second month after childbirth. Because another, later form, can also occur from the third month and up to a year after childbirth.
Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation.
In detail, the study shows that 16.7% of women suffer from depression two months after giving birth. Furthermore, 27.6% of them suffer from anxiety, and the figure rises to 83.2% among those who suffer from postpartum depression. Finally, 5.4% have suicidal thoughts, including 2.7 frequently (23.8% among women with PPD).
“The different clinical manifestations may be intertwined,” explain the authors of the article. Anxiety can be a precipitating factor for postpartum depression, postpartum depression and anxiety can cause suicidal ideation and lead to maternal suicide,” explain the authors of the article.
Grand Est and Burgundy-Franche-Comté slightly less affected
The study points out regional disparities. Thus, in terms of postpartum depression, four regions seem less affected: Grand Est (13.7%), Burgundy-Franche-Comté (11.4%), Hauts-de-France (14.1%) and New Aquitaine (13. 9%). Ile-de-France (19.3%), Centre-Loire Valley (21.7%) and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (20.5%) seem, on the contrary, a little more. Additional studies are needed to explain the reasons for these variations between regions, the authors of the article highlight.
It should also be remembered that the results of this study refer to women who gave birth in 2021, that is, during the wave of the Covid pandemic, which we know affected the mental health of the general population. However, these results are broadly consistent with previously published international perinatal mental health data.
Prevention, screening and support
And according to the researchers, they underline the fundamental nature of prevention policies and the need to adapt the offer of care in psychology/psychiatry, in line with the important needs described. Because psychiatric disorders linked to postpartum have consequences for both the mother and the child. For example, the study highlights, affected children are at greater risk of developing psychomotor, cognitive and emotional disorders during their early childhood.
On its website, Health Insurance especially highlights the importance of the postpartum interview, to identify the first signs of postpartum depression and assess support needs. This interview is mandatory in France from 2022.