In a recent study from Quebec, researchers compared the risk of postpartum depression in more than 35,000 pregnant women with asthma and almost 200,000 women without asthma. They found that rates of postpartum depressive symptoms were about twice as likely among women with asthma.
But why? They found that mothers with asthma were more likely to have worse outcomes, including preterm birth, cesarean delivery, low birth weight, poor fetal growth, and congenital malformation. Although this did not fully explain the association between asthma and risk for postpartum depression, adjusting for these variables did attenuate the risk to some degree.
Another hypothesis would be that women with asthma may experience more anxiety and/or depression as a result of their illness and that this may increase their vulnerability to depression or anxiety after the birth of a child. The authors also hypothesize that the inflammation associated with asthma may increase risk for postpartum depression.
Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD
Asthma During Pregnancy Tied to Postpartum Depression Risk (Medscape – free subscription)
Blais L, Salah Ahmed SI, Beauchesne MF, Forget A, Kettani FZ, Lavoie K. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2018 Oct 4