Many studies have shown that massage therapy relieves symptoms of depression, including those related to postpartum depression.

A new, unrelated, large-scale study has found one in seven new mothers suffers from postpartum depressive symptoms.

“In the U.S., the vast majority of postpartum women with depression are not identified or treated even though they are at higher risk for psychiatric disorders,” said Northwestern University lead study author Katherine L. Wisner, M.D., in a university press release. “It’s a huge public health problem. A woman’s mental health has a profound effect on fetal development as well as her child’s physical and emotional development.”

This is the largest-scale depression screening of postpartum women and the first time a full psychiatric assessment has been done in a study of postpartum women who screened positive for depression, according to the press release.

The study, which included a depression screening of 10,000 women who had recently delivered infants at single obstetrical hospital, revealed a large percentage of women who suffered recurrent episodes of major depression.

“A lot of women do not understand what is happening to them,” Wisner said. “They think they’re just stressed or they believe it is how having a baby is supposed to feel.”

The paper was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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