Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for creating strong bonds between mother and infant that is crucial for infant development, can also cause postpartum depression in mothers with a history of depression, a new study shows.
An study conducted at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, showed that women with a history of depression had higher levels of depression six weeks after giving birth when their oxytocin levels were higher during the pregnancy.
Researchers theorize that a past history of depression can change the oxytocin receptor by causing the body to release more oxytocin in depressed women as a means of combating it.
More research could help in creating tests that predict the probability of postpartum depression in pregnant women.
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‘Love Hormone’ Levels in Pregnancy May Point to Risk for Postpartum Depression