London, May 12: Researchers have found a possible way to curb regnant women from suffering post-natal depression.
A “cuddle chemical” released during love-making and breastfeeding could hold the key to preventing post-natal depression.
According to research, women with low levels of the hormone oxytocin during pregnancy are more likely to feel down after their baby is born.
The finding raises the possibility that oxytocin could be measured in mothers-to-be – and a top-up pill given to those found lacking.
Oxytocin is made by the brain during sex, breastfeeding and labour. It osters feelings of trust, love and affection.
As studies showed that women with higher levels of the “cuddle hormone” find it easier to adapt to motherhood, the Swiss and U.S. researchers looked at whether a shortage of the chemical is linked to the trouble in bonding that comes with post-natal depression.
The analysis found a clear link between low oxytocin in pregnancy and symptoms of depression after giving birth.
“This study shows for the first time that levels of oxytocin – the “bonding” hormone – are reduced in pregnancy in women who will later develop post-partum depression” the Daily Mail quoted Dr Carmine Pariante, an expert in the psychiatry of pregnancy and motherhood from King’s College London, as saying.
“This study confirms the notion that depression in the perinatal period often starts in pregnancy, and has profound effects on the mother-child relationship,” she added.
The study has been published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. (ANI)