Multiple births 'increase the odds of maternal depression'

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Washington, Mar 30 (ANI): Mothers of multiples are at an increased risk of having moderate to severe depressive symptoms nine months after giving birth compared to mums of single-born children, says a new study.

To reach the conclusion, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public researchers examined the relationship between multiple births and maternal depressive symptoms and found that multiple births increased the odds of maternal depression, and that few mothers with depressive symptoms, regardless of the multiple births status, reported talking to a mental health specialist or a general medical provider.

The study has been published in the April 1, 2009, issue of Pediatrics.

"Our findings suggest that 19 percent of mothers of multiples had moderate to severe depressive symptoms nine months after delivery, compared to 16 percent among mothers of singletons," said Yoonjoung Choi, DrPH, lead author of the study and a research associate with the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health.

"Mothers with a history of hospitalization due to mental health problems or a history of alcohol or drug abuse also had significantly increased odds," the expert added.

Choi, along with colleagues, used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, a nationally representative sample of children born in 2001. They measured depressive symptoms in mothers using an abbreviated version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale.

Researchers examined the association between multiple births and maternal mental health, given the rapidly increasing multiple births rate in the U.S. over the last two decades. They also found that, among the mothers of both singleton and multiples, only 27 percent reported talking to a mental health specialist or a general medical provider when experiencing depressive symptoms. (ANI)

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