A link with postpartum depression and oxytocin, sometimes called the "love hormone"?
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Three researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine are starting a 5-year study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that's aimed at understanding the role of oxytocin in postpartum depression and bonding between mothers and babies. "The conventional wisdom is that breastfeeding reduces postpartum depression — yet we see tremendous overlap between moms who struggle with breastfeeding and moms who have postpartum depression or anxiety symptoms," said Alison Stuebe, MD, first author of the pilot study and assistant professor in UNC's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is also assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. "In this study, we measured levels of oxytocin, the 'love hormone', in mothers with mild anxiety or depression and in normal controls. The mothers who were more anxious had lower oxytocin