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Boys linked to postnatal depression

Mothers who give birth to boys are much more likely to experience postnatal depression, a new study claims.

Professor Claude de Tychey, from Universite Nancy 2 in France, studied 181 women and found 31.5% had mild or severe postnatal depression (PND) four to eight weeks after delivery.

More than 68% suffered no bouts of depression, while 22% recorded mild depression and 9.5% said they had severe depression.

But of these 17 women who had severe symptoms of depression, 13 had given birth to boys.

The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, and Professor de Tychey said: "Postnatal depression is very common and poses a major public health problem, especially if it is not diagnosed and treated.

"When we launched our research, our main aim was to study the effect that gender has on PND.

"But the overwhelming finding of the study was the fact that gender appears to play a significant role in reduced quality of life as well as an increased chance of severe PND."

He added: "We also discovered that being a first-time mother had no effect on quality of life scores.

"Women had the same general scores regardless of whether the recent birth was their first or second baby."

Journal of Clinical Nursing

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"We are currently running a poll on - a support charity for women with perinatal mental illness (inc. antenatal depression, postnatal depression, PP and birth trauma). We feel that social factors and traumatic births are the most likely issues that contribute to PND and regular cuts in the numbers of midwives and health visitors don't help in the detection early on" - Lisa Tanner, Counsellor,