The presence of Cortisol, a steroid hormone that is secreted in response to stress in the hair of pregnant women during her third or first trimesters of pregnancy can determine how likely the pregnant woman is to suffer from postpartum depression. The study has been published in the PLoS ONE journal and it reveals that women with high level of cortisol in their hair are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression than the ones with low or no cortisol in their hair during pregnancy.
Somatization Increases Occurrence Risks of Depression
The study was carried out on 44 pregnant women and it was conducted by the faculty of Psychology and the University of Granada (UGR). All the 44 pregnant women were kept under observation throughout their gestation period and after giving birth. During each trimester, the would-be mothers had to undergo many tests that evaluated their level of stress and psycho-pathological symptoms. Simultaneously, their hair samples were also collected by the researchers. They further evaluated the mothers’ emotional stress after giving birth in a bid to assess which of the mothers had developed postpartum depression.
In the due course of the study, the researchers of UGR also discovered that higher the level of cortisol, higher the chances of developing postpartum depression. In addition to the level of cortisol, the study also revealed that the presence of various levels of obsession-compulsion, somatization, anxiety, and depression also played a significant role in the development of postpartum depression in the new mothers.