The new study showed the relationship between the immune system and the postpartum depression development after stress during pregnancy. Researchers at the University of Ohio kept signs of inflammation in brain areas responsible for mood regulation and evidence of changes in the functioning of existing immune cells in the body. The results can help shape future treatment for the problem, which can reach up to 15% of women after delivery, according to the study.
The study, presented on Tuesday, April 6, during the annual meeting of the Neuroscience Society, looked at female rats under stress during pregnancy, considering the condition already recognized as a risk factor for the disorder. Scientists have found that, as with women, guinea pigs began to show reduced attention to their puppies as well as signs of depression and anxiety in performing tasks.
Unlike stress-free animals, women had more levels of inflammatory markers in brain tissue.
The study also showed evidence that stress may modify the functioning of immune cells acting in the brain, known as microglia. The researchers looked at the medial prefrontal cortex, the brain area associated with the mood associated with postpartum depression.
"Post-production depression is poorly studied and as a result it remains poorly known," says Benedetta Leuner, associate professor of psychology at the University, a leading researcher. "Better understanding of factors contributing to this serious and overwhelming disorder will be key to finding ways to better help women fighting (against the problem). "
Difficulty in relieving the baby and excessive fatigue are among the symptoms of postpartum depression. "With pregnancy, women become much more vulnerable to depression because it is a time of stress, challenges and change. Apathy and" nothing do "are part of the picture, which results in great suffering. Diagnosis should be as early as possible to save beb relationship with the mother, "explains the gynecologist and obstetrician at São Luiz do Itaim Hospital, Alberto Guimarães.
One of the creators of the Parto Sem Medo program, says that not every feeling of apathy or sadness is associated with depression. "In the immediate postpartum period, it is normal for a woman to have" baby blues "or" puerperal blues "but she is passive."
Previous research on the subject mainly focused on hormonal explanations of the problem, although immunoassays have already been conducted, where scientists have observed signs of inflammation in the blood, which has not occurred in this research.
"It was particularly interesting that we did not find any evidence of increased inflammation in the blood, but we were watching in this area of the brain, which is important for regulating mood. We are very excited about suggesting that brain inflammation can contribute to postnatal development," he says. Kathryn Lenz, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at the University.
Kathryn estimates that finding can help establish the goal of treatment, whether it is medication or techniques like meditation, nutrition and stress reduction.
"Postpartum depression is weakening and can have a negative impact on the entire family. We hope this and future research will improve the lives of women and people around us," concludes Benedetta.
In the United States, according to the lead author of the study, it is estimated that at least half a million women suffer from problems every year. And, in Benedict's estimate, the reported number may be less than the actual case.
In Brazil, a study of 23,896 women in six to 18 months after birth showed that 26.3% of women had symptoms of postpartum depression.
The research was conducted by National School of Public Health Sérgio Arouca from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Ensp / Fiocruz) and was published in 2016.
"Many women believe that postpartum depression means poor mothers and are afraid of judgments that they are incompetent. One of the major obstacles to access to treatment is a stigma," says Marcia Baldisseroto, a perinatal psychologist and PhD in the Ensp / Fiocruz Epidemiological Program.
Whoever is about the new mother, she should not just follow the signs of her suffering, but also give support.
"It is very important that those around the eye give support without a verdict that this place from motherhood will only be a happiness." One of the great strains is just a woman's accusation of motherhood idealization. . "