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J Epidemiol Community Health 65:722-726 doi:10.1136/jech.2009.096651
  • Research report

Infant sex, family support and postpartum depression in a Chinese cohort

  1. S W Wen1,2,4,6
  1. 1OMNI Research Group, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Department of Nursing, Huaihua Medical College, Huaihua, PR China
  4. 4School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, PR China
  5. 5School of Nursing, University of South China, Hunan, PR China
  6. 6Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shi Wu Wen, OMNI Research Group, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 501 Smyth Rd, Box 241, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8L6; swwen{at}ohri.ca
  • Accepted 22 February 2010
  • Published Online First 24 August 2010

Abstract

Objectives To assess the impact of prenatal and postnatal family support on the association between infant sex and postpartum depression (PPD).

Design Prospective cohort study.

Setting Pregnant women seen at Hunan Maternal and Infant Hospital, the First Affiliated and the Third Affiliated Hospitals of the Central South University in Changsha, Hunan, People's Republic of China from February to September 2007.

Participants 534 Pregnant women who were consecutively recruited from the participating hospital during their prenatal visits at 30–32 weeks of gestation and who completed the 2 weeks postpartum survey, with no recorded major psychiatric disorders and obstetric and/or pregnancy complications.

Main outcome measure PPD, which was defined as a score of 13 or higher of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Results Postnatal family support scores were much lower in women who gave birth to a female infant, and the OR of PPD was 3.67 (95% CI 2.31 to 5.84) for them as compared to women who gave birth to a male infant. After adjusting by postnatal support from all family members, husband and parents, the ORs of PPD for women who gave birth to a female infant decreased to 2.06 (95% CI 1.20 to 3.53), 2.89 (95% CI 1.76 to 4.77) and 2.20 (95% CI 1.28 to 3.77), respectively.

Discussion Increased risk of PPD in Chinese women who gave birth to a female infant can be explained to large extent by inadequate or poor postpartum support from family members, particularly husband and parents.

Footnotes

  • Funding Other funders: Canadian Institutes for Health Research and Chinese funding agencies.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Central South University in China.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.