A new study published on March 4 in the online version of the journal Pediatrics shows that anxiety is more prevalent after pregnancy and is associated with shorter breastfeeding durations and more hospital visits.
Dr. Ian Paul, of Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa., and colleagues analyzed data from 1,123 women who had just given birth and found that 17 percent of women suffered from anxiety after childbirth, compared to the 5 percent who screened positive for postpartum depression.
The researchers also found that the rate of anxiety was higher in women who had c-sections compared to those who had vaginal delivery — 22 percent versus 15 percent. Both anxiety and depression have been associated with shorter duration of breastfeeding. But anxiety was also associated with reduced duration of breastfeeding among women who delivered vaginally, whereas depression was associated with a shorter breastfeeding duration in women who had a cesarean delivery, according to a news release.
Additionally, mothers suffering from anxiety were more likely to use hospital-based services and have unplanned outpatient visits in the first two weeks after delivery.
Paul recommends that health care providers screen their patients for anxiety in order to offer the necessary intervention and prevent “adverse maternal and child health outcomes.”