Exposure to harmful chemicals in plastic may increase risk of postpartum depression: study

05 Apr 2021 10:05 STI

Washington [US], April 5 (ANI): Women exposed to endocrine disruptors commonly found in plastics during pregnancy have a higher risk of developing postpartum depression, a new study has suggested.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism of the Endocrine Society.
The study also found that these harmful chemicals can influence hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Postpartum depression is a serious and common psychiatric disorder that affects up to 1 in 5 women of childbearing age. The cause of postpartum depression is not well understood, but hormonal changes during pregnancy have been shown to be an important factor.
Harmful chemicals such as bisphenols and phthalates found in plastics and personal care products are known to affect sex hormones.

“We found that phthalate exposure was associated with lower progesterone levels during pregnancy and a greater likelihood of developing postpartum depression,” said study author Melanie Jacobson, Ph .D., MPH of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, NY
Jacobson added, “This research is important because phthalates are so prevalent in the environment that they are detectable in almost all pregnant women in the United States. While these chemicals can affect prenatal hormone levels and subsequently postpartum depression, reducing exposure to these types of chemicals could be a plausible way to prevent postpartum depression. “
The researchers measured the levels of bisphenols and phthalates in urine samples and sex hormones in blood samples from 139 pregnant women. They assessed these women four months after giving birth using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and found that women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to develop a postnatal depression.
Women also had lower levels of progesterone, a hormone that plays an important role in the menstrual cycle, in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy, and in modulating mood.
“These results should be interpreted with caution as this is the first study to examine these chemicals in relation to postpartum depression and our sample was small,” Jacobson concluded. (ANI)