the researchers did not consider them high risk for suffering any postpartum mental health issues.
During the course of the study, the participants were asked to disclose their history of alcohol and drug abuse.
When the interview had concluded, the authors found that the best way to determine if a woman will experience postpartum depression is their history of mental health issues. “But when you include a history of drug use, the likelihood increases significantly,” Desmarais said.
The researchers uncovered two important findings. First, that women who have a history of abusing alcohol or drugs are at a higher risk of experiencing stress and anxiety in addition to postpartum depression. Second, that physicians should ask questions and discuss their history of substance abuse, which will help identify who is at risk of experiencing postpartum stress and anxiety.
At the conclusion of their study, Desmarais and Prevatt found that women with a history of drug and alcohol abuse had symptoms of stress and anxiety after giving birth, but that drug and alcohol consumption was not associated with postpartum depression or other mental health issues.
Desmarais noted that many women choose not to talk about their history of substance abuse during their pregnancy in fear of losing their children or dealing with a negative bias while seeking care. However, these women are encouraged to talk about their history of substance abuse with their physician, so they can receive the necessary care that’s right for them.