postpartum depression supportPsych Central reported on a new study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science in which the authors concluded that having her family’s strong social support around a new mom means she is less likely to develop postpartum depression.

The study looked at levels of a stress hormone called placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (pCRH), comparing those who felt they had strong support from their families  to those who didn’t. Support included things like pitching in to help, offering an understanding ear, and making the mom feel valued. Those who perceived they had more support had much lower levels of pCRH, leading the authors to believe that social support protects against abnormal pCRH increases and that lower pCRH levels in turn reduce risk of postpartum depression.

Of course, all of you who had strong social support and great families around you, like me, will be scratching your heads wondering how you got postpartum depression. Social support, or lack thereof, has always been considered a risk factor for postpartum depression. It is not, however, the only thing that causes PPD or something that singularly prevents PPD.

Here’s a much more detailed story on this study if you’d like to learn more, from Science Daily.

Photo credit: © JackF –