Latinas Prone to Postpartum Depression - NBC 7 San Diego

Stories impacting San Diego's Latino Community

Latinas Prone to Postpartum Depression

New study shows Latinas are more susceptible to child birth depression over others



    The statistics for Latinas suffering from child birth related depression continue to climb.

    From socio-economics to cultural beliefs, many suffer in silence mainly because they are reluctant to admit something is wrong.

    San Ysidro Health Center physician James Cevallos, M.D. says it is typical for any mother to get the blues when dealing with a new baby.

    "Sadness, guilt, just not feeling pleasure [but] if it's beyond two weeks that's when we're really concerned,” said Cevallos.

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    He says around 10% of the mothers he treats at the center have postpartum depression.

    But according to a recent study by Postpartum Support International, Latinas are 37% more likely to suffer from the disorder - compared to 25% for the general population.

    "Some have thought that there's a hormonal factor involved in postpartum depression but the truth is there are multiple areas that it could be involved in causing depression,” Said Cevallos.

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    For Latinas, he says, it is not so much biological as it is cultural.

    “It's something that might be shameful to the culture and we know that mental disease in the Latino culture is something that's looked at as something that you should be able to handle on your own,” Said Cevallos.

    A lack of proper health care also plays a factor when it comes to early detection.

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    “It's recommended that in a postpartum visit, physicians ask their patients about symptoms of postpartum depression,” Said the SYHC physician.

    Despite a language barrier or a cultural stigma, Cevallos says it is important to reach out if your baby blues persist.

    "We know that you can feel this way that it can be just the blues but it can be something serious if it lasts more than two weeks.”

    Although most women experience postpartum after child birth, the study says Latinas are more at risk of developing it during pregnancy.

    It also shows that out of all Latino nationalities, Mexican women are most susceptible to postpartum.

    Diana Guevara covers stories involving San Diego's Hispanic community. Send her your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.