Home > Parenting > News Updated 28 May 2014 Birthing fears predict postpartum depression Women with prenatally diagnosed fear of childbirth are at an increased risk of postpartum depression, according to a Finnish study. 0 iStock ASK The Paediatrician » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Quiz Are you ready for a baby? » Subscribe Parenting newsletter » How to stimulate your baby How to massage a new baby Expectant women with prenatally diagnosed fear of childbirth are at an increased risk of postpartum depression, according to a study of over 500 000 mothers in Finland. Women with a history of depression are at the highest risk of postpartum depression. Read: Know the signs of postpartum depressionThe fact that fear of childbirth puts women without a history of depression at an approximately three times higher risk of postpartum depression is a new observation which may help health care professionals in recognising postpartum depression. The results were published recently in BMJ Open. In Finland, postpartum depression was diagnosed in 0.3% of all mothers delivering a singleton birth in 2002–2010. The risk of postpartum depression is highest after the first childbirth. Postpartum depression was diagnosed in 5.3% of women with a history of depression, while approximately one-third of women experiencing postpartum depression had no history of depression. Risk factors In these women, physician-diagnosed fear of childbirth during pregnancy was discovered to nearly triple the risk of postpartum depression. Other risk factors included Caesarean section, pre-term birth and major congenital anomaly.Read more on postpartum depression:• How poor sleep increases postpartum depression • How fish oil fights postpartum depression • Why winter may be linked to postpartum depression Giving birth is a powerful experience both physically and mentally, and a variety of emotions are present.As much as 50–80% of women suffer from baby blues after birth, and some women develop postpartum depression, the severity of which may range from minor symptoms to psychotic depression. The consequences of postpartum depression may be severe. For example, postpartum depression may affect the mother's abilities and skills to engage in delicate interaction with the child, and thus impair the development of an attachment relationship – possibly affecting the child's later development and well-being. Women with a history of depression are known to be at a higher risk of postpartum depression, but it has been difficult to predict the risk of women not belonging to this risk group. According to the researchers, the observed link between fear of childbirth and postpartum depression may help health care professionals in recognising postpartum depression. The study provides strong evidence, as it relies on diagnosis-based data on postpartum depression.Read more about fear of childbirth:• How fear of childbirth increases choice of C-section • Why women who fear childbirth endure longer labour EurekAlert NEXT ON HEALTH24X 8 ways to protect your family from worms 2017-03-07 13:24 More: ParentingNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... From our sponsors K Naomi takes a stand and shows women how to fight back WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Constipation in women SA's old diesel vehicles continue to fuel allergies Live healthier Are you sure? » Aid your digestion What are digestive disorders? Are you really constipated? Many people think that if they do not have two or more bowel movements every single day of their lives they are constipated. This is patently not true, writes DietDoc. True of False? » SEE: How anaphylactic shock affects your body Stop believing these 10 allergy myths Do you still believe that hay fever is caused by hay? Or that food allergies are really common? No, and no again. We bust 10 myths about allergies.