New Evidence That Support Groups Significantly Reduce Postpartum Depression

After you have a baby, surrounding yourself with a positive support system just might change your postnatal experience. A March 2010 article in Lancet reported that women’s support groups “have had a dramatic effect on reducing neonatal mortality rates” in India, while also significantly reducing postpartum depression.*

“The effects of the interventions were dramatic: by the second and third years of the trial, the neonatal mortality rate in the areas where the participatory women’s groups existed had fallen by 45%. These areas also saw a significant fall (57%) in moderate depression amongst mothers by the third year of the trial.”

“The researchers believe that improved social capital — the access the group gave women to a wider support network of peers — was potentially the most valuable aspect of the groups and would have contributed towards the improved childbirth and childcare practices and the reduction in maternal depression. It may also explain why such groups have had much greater success than direct — even one-to-one — interventions with healthcare workers.”

Yahooooooooooo, I love reading articles like this! More evidence of the power of support groups and social support from peers to reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression and perhaps even prevent it.

And there’s often help nearby. Beaumont has free weekly Postpartum Adjustment Support Groups. These groups are helpful to moms struggling with postpartum depression/anxiety as well as to moms who are just going through all of the normal adjustments and changes that take place after having a baby. Come and meet with other parents and a specially trained professional counselor or social worker. You don’t have to register and they’re provided at no cost. Just come as you are. Babies and support people are also welcome to attend.

As an addition to the in-person support, in 2011 all of our Postpartum Adjustment Support Groups will offer free monthly massages plus the book Beyond the Blues and a guided imagery CD designed specifically to promote relaxation and peaceful sleep. Groups are available weekly in Troy, Sterling Heights, West Bloomfield, and St. Clair Shores. Feel free to contact me for more information.

 —Kelly C. Ryan, MSW, Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator

*Wellcome Trust (2010, March 7). Women’s support groups make dramatic improvements on neonatal survival rates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2010, from /releases/2010/03/100307215532.htm

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