Q: Do new mothers of higher-order multiples experience post-partum depression (PPD) more often than new mothers of singletons or twins?

A:Current research shows that PPD affects 10-20% of all new mothers and generally occurs within the first year following delivery peaking between 10-14 weeks. According to a 2003 survey on PPD, PPD appears not only to affect a higher percentage of higher-order multiple birth mothers, 29%, but may occur at a later time, as late as 18 months to 3 years post-delivery, and go undiagnosed and untreated in a significant percentage of new mothers of multiples. The following factors correlated with a higher-incidence of diagnosed PPD in the survey as well as a higher number of PPD symptoms experienced regardless of diagnosis:

  • Young maternal age
  • Lower level of education
  • Lower socioeconomic status
  • Dysfunctional interpersonal relationships
  • Personal or family history of mood disorder (anxiety or depression)
  • Depression during pregnancy
  • Psychosocial stress
  • Lack of social support
  • Marital discord

Raising Multiples believes that providing mothers who may be at risk for PPD with a wealth of information and support services is essential.

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