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Int J Psychiatry Med. 2012;43(3):243-59.

The relationship between postpartum depression and breastfeeding.

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  • 1King Saud bin AbdulAziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



The purpose was to investigate the possible correlation or predictive relationship between breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression (PPD).


We conducted a prospective study in which 137 Arab women were assessed during pregnancy and postpartum. Current breastfeeding was correlated with postpartum outcomes (EPDS and MINI), employment, and use of formula at 2 and 4 months postpartum, as well as with other variables.


Women who were breastfeeding at 2 and 4 months had lower scores on EPDS (p < 0.0037 andp < 0.0001, respectively) and were less likely to be diagnosed with PPD at 4 months (p < 0.0025). Higher scores on EPDS and diagnosis of PPD at 2 months were predictive of lower rates of breastfeeding at 4 months (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.005, respectively). Women who were employed and using formula at 2 months were less likely to breastfeed at 4 months (p < 0.0001). Breastfeeding women at 2 months had lower scores on EPDS (p < 0.003) and were less likely to be diagnosed with PPD (p <0.05) at 4 months.


The results indicate that women who breastfeed their infants reduced their risk of developing PPD, with effects being maintained over the first 4 months postpartum. PPD may also decrease the rate of breastfeeding, suggesting a reciprocal relationship between these variables.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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