A new study has shown that psychological support from other new mothers can almost halve a woman's risk of postnatal depression.
About 13 percent women experience postnatal depression in the year following the birth of their child. But postnatal depression is frequently undetected and untreated, often because of poor recognition of symptoms, unawareness of treatment options, or fear of stigmatisation.
The new study led by Dr Jane Morrell and colleagues has shown that even talking to other new mothers can almost halve women's risk of developing post-natal depression
Moreover, training health visitors in identifying the signs, and offering effective treatment can help the patient to beat the baby blues.
Although antidepressants have been shown to be an effective treatment for postnatal depression, but many women are reluctant to take drugs, especially when breast-feeding.
Thus psychological therapies may provide an alternative treatment.
During the study, Dr Jane Morrell and colleagues observed that the mothers who received care from the specially trained health visitors showed significantly greater reductions in depressive symptoms than those who received health visitor usual care.
They were 40 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms, reports the British Medical Journal.
In a second study involving 21,000 women, Dr Cindy-Lee Dennis and colleagues from Canada examined the effectiveness of telephone based peer support to prevent postnatal depression in high-risk women.
The researchers found that mothers receiving support from other mothers, who had overcame postpartum depression, had half the risk of developing the condition at 12 weeks after birth than those in the control group.
Mothers were receptive to receiving telephone-based peer support, and over 80 percent said that they were satisfied with their experience and would recommend this support to a friend.