Supplementing Folic Acid for at six months before giving birth could lower the risk of postpartum depression.
Almost 1,600 women who had given birth six to 12 weeks earlier were recruited to participate in this study. Data on prenatal folic acid supplementation, obstetric history, and lifestyle and socio-demographic characteristics was collected. 803 (50.4%) women participating in the study took Folic Acid supplements during their pregnancy but for a period of 3 months or less, 146 (9.2%) supplemented with Folic Acid for 4 to 6 months and 643 (40.4%) women supplemented with Folic Acid for over 6 months. Researchers noted 29.4% of the participants experienced postpartum depression. The tendency to experience postpartum depression was lower in the group of women who had supplemented Folic Acid for over 6 months of their pregnancy.
Previous studies done worldwide have found determinants of postpartum depression (PPD) include biological factors, hormones, inflammatory factors, nutrients, cultural and environmental factors, family history and social support, and socio-economic status. Researchers believe this study shows that prenatal Folic Acid supplementation for over 6 months decreased the risk of PPD regardless of the contributing factors seen in past studies.
Further studies which take into account serum and dietary Folic Acid levels would eliminate any bias found in this study which relied on participants recall and was collected after the participants had given birth.
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