Getting an epidural can reduce likelihood of postpartum depression, says study

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Pain management is extremely important for a mother's wellbeing. According to new research from the American Society of Anesthesiologists, epidurals can decrease the likelihood of developing postpartum depression

Like most medical procedures, epidural injections come with their negative side-effects. But they also come with their benefits—apart from pain relief, of course. According to new research, epidurals seem to be linked to less likelihood of postpartum depression, reports CafeMom.

Dr. Grace Lim, the director of obstetric anesthesiology at Magee Women's Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and lead investigator on the study, explained in a media release that pain can be psychologically harmful for some women. Therefore, pain relief can decrease the chances of some women to develop postpartum depression.

"Labor pain matters more than just for the birth experience"

epidural benefits

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“Labor pain matters more than just for the birth experience. It may be psychologically harmful for some women and play a significant role in the development of postpartum depression,” Dr. Lim said. “We found that certain women who experience good pain relief from epidural analgesia are less likely to exhibit depressive symptoms in the postpartum period.”

Getting an epidural helps keep postpartum depression at bay, but Dr. Lim maintains that it isn’t a sure-fire way to prevent it. Several factors can lead to the development of postpartum depression, including “hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, social support, and a history of psychiatric disorders.”

On the next page: more on epidural benefits and how to manage labor pain.

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