Women who continue to experience pain from childbirth one after having a baby may be more likely to develop postpartum depression, a brand new study indicates.

Specifically, researchers found that women in Singapore who'd pain that continued more than four weeks after they gave birth had higher scores on tests that measured the women's risk for postpartum depression. It was compared with women whose pain solved by four weeks and with both new moms who had no pain following delivery.

The findings indicate that constant childbirth pain in women is linked with a greater danger of postpartum depression, said Dr. Ban Leong Sng, the senior author of the study and the deputy head of the department of women's anesthesia at KK Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore.

The precise mechanisms to describe the connection between postpartum depression and persistent childbirth pain are being investigated, Sng said. Nonetheless, possible explanations could include an association between mental vulnerability, hormonal influences, and genetics to depression and pain, he suggested.

The researchers presented their findings in Hong Kong at the World Congress of Anesthesiologists, but the results have not yet been printed in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

In the study, the researchers amassed data from 200 healthy women in Singapore who were giving birth for the first time. All the girls received an epidural for pain relief during labour and delivery.

During their pregnancies, evaluations were completed by the girls to rate their perceived level of susceptibility and tension to pain. Six to eight weeks after giving birth, telephone interviewed each girl to value her amount of nervousness, ascertain whether she was experiencing consistent childbirth-associated pain and assess her risk of postpartum depression.

This rate is lower than researchers expected, said Dr. Helen Chen, a co-author of the study and a senior adviser in the department of psychological medicine at KK Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore.

Those other women might or might not be as healthy and might not have received similar or any sort of pain control during childbirth, Chen said.

Worldwide, the prevalence rate of postpartum depression is generally between 10 and 15 percent, based on the study. 

But the research findings support the need to address pain comprehensively to lessen the risk of developing postpartum depression of a woman, Sng told Live Science. Anesthesiologists can address childbirth pain through their assessments and treatment of the condition during and after labour and delivery, to try this, he quoted at pain forum.

To ensure their physical and mental well-being, girls should receive both a pain evaluation and a screening after they deliver, Sng said.

Getting a good beginning

This scale was found to be related to the duration of the childbirth pain of a woman, Wisner said.

Additionally, the researchers showed that the longer the pain of a woman went on after childbirth, the greater was her danger of having a higher score on this screening exam for postpartum depression, Live Science was told by Wisner.

Women who reported never having any childbirth pain after delivery scored, typically , 4 points lower on the depression screening than women whose pain continued more than 4 weeks, she said. Meanwhile, women whose pain resolved within four weeks scored, on the postpartum depression screening than girls who'd childbirth pain lasting more than 4 weeks, 2 points lower on average, Wisner said. A lower score means a lower risk for postpartum depression.

The study shows after they give birth that it is very important to get girls off to a great start, Wisner said. This good beginning helps a girl develop her awareness as a mom and gain more confidence, Wisner clarified. If a cascade of negative things impacts a girl right after giving birth — uncontrolled pain following a Csection, pain during breast feeding, or pelvic pain, for example — she will not get off to a good start, Wisner said.

Thinking that it's normal to have pain that continues can be detrimental, Wisner added .

Pain after childbirth should be a variant that the health care providers of women observe carefully, Wisner said. Most girls do well so about feeling uncomfortable speaking up can help get pain under control early so it mightn't linger after giving birth, she said.

Because it really is one of the modifiable factors that can reduce the danger of postpartum depression more focus needs to be paid to the control of childbirth pain, Wisner said. And more long term studies of consistent childbirth pain are needed to see if many of these women go on to develop long-term pain, she said at health message boards.