General anesthesia during C-sections could lead women to postpartum depression

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Kathmandu, February 9

A recent study claimed that women who have general anesthesia during C-sections are significantly more likely to experience severe post-partum depression. The depression could result in hospitalization, suicidal thoughts or self-harm.

As per the CNN, the study, which was published in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, is the first to examine how specific types of anesthesia for cesarean delivery affect the risk of postpartum depression.

To conduct the study, the researchers from Columbia University used hospital discharge records of cesarean delivery cases from New York state hospitals between 2006 and 2013. Out of the 428,304 cases they examined, 34,356 women—or 8%--received general anesthesia during delivery.

General anesthesia induces sleep, meaning that mothers won't be able to see, feel or remember anything during childbirth. It also prevents them from being able to see their child immediately after birth.

As per the researchers, they found that 1,158 of the women who received general anesthesia, or about 3%, experienced severe postpartum depression that required hospitalization. Women who had general anesthesia were also 54% more likely to experience postpartum depression and 91% more likely to have thoughts about suicide or self-harm, compared to those who had regional anesthesia such as spinal blocks or epidurals.

The CNN quoted the studying saying that women who had general anesthesia during C-sections were also older, and more often non-white and on Medicaid or Medicare, compared to those who had regional anesthesia.

The researchers said that such symptoms might be seen because general anesthesia can delay breastfeeding and skin-to-skin interaction between the mother and infant, and often results in more acute and persistent pain after childbirth.

However, the authors caution that their findings don't necessarily mean that general anesthesia causes postpartum depression, as reported by the CNN.

Last modified on 2020-02-10 10:05:07

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