The researchers found that just under a third of the 181 women they studied four to eight weeks after delivery had PND. Nine per cent of the women in the study had severe PND and just over three-quarters of those had given birth to boys. The team also discovered that, even if women didn’t have postnatal depression, giving birth to a boy was significantly more likely to reduce their quality of life than delivering a girl.
The researchers measured the women’s quality of life using a validated questionnaire containing 36 questions. This asked the women to score eight dimensions of their health – physical functioning, physical role, bodily pain, mental health, emotional role, social functioning, vitality and general health - using a 100-point scale.
When the researchers looked at overall results they discovered that women who had given birth to a boy reported lower quality of life scores in 70 per cent of cases compared with women who had delivered a girl, regardless of whether they suffered from PND. When the researchers looked at women with PND, they found higher quality of life scores for women who had delivered girls – 567 if the PND was mild and 541 if it was severe. Women who had delivered boys scored lower totals of 539 if the PND was mild and 498 if it was severe. The figures also enabled the researchers to compare the gender differences for women with no, mild and severe PND. This showed that gender differences were greatest in women who had no PND. If they had given birth to a boy they had lower quality of life scores in 90 per cent of categories than those who had delivered girls.
“We believe that our findings have important public health consequences, as they point to the need for developing prevention and early psychotherapeutic programmes for women giving birth to boys”, says Professor Claude de Tychey from Université Nancy 2.
MEDICA.de; Source: Wiley Blackwell