New mothers who receive personalised care from a midwife for a few months after birth are significantly less likely to develop postpartum depression, according to a new British study.
Postpartum depression affects 10-15 per cent of new mothers. Researchers from the University of Birmingham studied 2064 women, 1087 treated for three months by midwives and redesigned care, which took into account the mother's emotional state and needs.
The remaining women received conventional postnatal care - regular visits by the midwife for the first two weeks, followed by health visitor checks and a GP appointment within six to eight weeks.
The women receiving the new model of care had significantly better psychological wellbeing, with an overall 40 per cent reduction in the risk of depression (Lancet, 2002; 359: 370-1, 378-85).