Did you know 10% of mothers in Australia will experience depression from the time the get pregnant to 12 months after the birth of their child? Women who are depressed during pregnancy are at a higher risk for preterm delivery, preeclampsia, birth difficulties, and postpartum depression.
Data from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey showed that 1 in 5 (20%) mothers of children aged 24 months or less had been diagnosed with depression. More than half of these mothers reported being diagnosed with depression during the perinatal period. This is the period of time from the beginning of pregnancy until the child is 12 months of age.
Many cases of maternal depression are underreported or underdiagnosed so the actual rate of depression could actually be much higher.
Risk factors for maternal depression include our epigenetics (genetics and their response to environmental factors), as well as a number of social, psychological, and biological factors. One biological factor needing extra consideration is inadequate nutrition.
Interventions aimed at the well-being parents with depression should consider targeting the nutritional environment .
Micronutrients, including certain B vitamins, folate or folinic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), play a role in the synthesis and absorption of our brain chemicals that affect our moods including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. Experimental studies suggest that supplementation with specific micronutrients may alleviate depressive symptoms and improve birth outcomes in patients with perinatal depression .
If you or someone you know is trying to fall pregnant or currently pregnant and is wanting to improve birthing outcomes as well as ensuring optimum health for yourself and your baby, the Doctors at Little Sprouts will be able to assist in managing your health.
 Leung, B. M., & Kaplan, B. J. (2009). Perinatal depression: prevalence, risks, and the nutrition link—a review of the literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(9), 1566-1575.
 Adhikari, P., & Cooper-Stanbury, M. (2012). Perinatal depression: Data from the 2010 Australian national infant feeding survey. AIHW.
 Barker, E. D., Kirkham, N., Ng, J., & Jensen, S. K. (2013). Prenatal maternal depression symptoms and nutrition, and child cognitive function. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 203(6), 417-421.