Women who give birth to boys are more likely to have postnatal depression (PND), according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Kent found that the odds of developing the condition increase by 79% when mothers have boys, compared to girls.

Dr Sarah Johns, co-author of the study, said: “PND is a condition that is avoidable, and it has been shown that giving women at risk extra help and support can make it less likely to develop.

“The finding that having a baby boy or a difficult birth increases a woman’s risk gives health practitioners two new and easy ways to identify women who would particularly benefit from additional support in the first few weeks and months.”

Previous studies have shown that there’s a link between inflammatory immune response and the development of depressive symptoms.

But while carrying a male baby has been shown to increase inflammation, until now, the relationship with PND remained unclear.

In the study, the researchers analysed the complete reproductive histories of 296 women.

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Their results revealed that women who gave birth to males were 71-79% more likely to develop PND.

And women whose births had complications were 174% more likely to experience PND.

The researchers hope their findings will help health professionals to identify and support women who make be more likely to develop this condition.

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