Friday, March 2, 2007

Could Britney Spears be affected by a Postpartum Mood Disorder?

Much in the gossip-cum-news lately is Britney Spears's recent visit to rehab after some odd public behavior--a good deal of which involved some unusual shaving practices. Speculation has been bandied about that her behavior might be attributed to postpartum depression. While I will not diagnose Ms. Spears from afar, I think there are details from this story that suggest why she might be at greater risk for a PPMD. Here are the risk factors that put her (as well as lots of other women) at risk for a PPMD:
*Weaning suddenly (I assume she wasn't pumping or nursing while in rehab)
*Lack of support/single parenting
*Personal crisis (such as divorce)
*Using alcohol or other depressants (she reportedly attended an A.A. meeting)
*Having babies born close together (or experiencing some other hormone-fluctuating event, e.g. sudden weaning)

Add to this mix the very public questioning of her and Kevin Federline's adequacy as parents, it's easy to see how a PPMD might gain purchase in her life.

The good news in all of this is that as a public figure, Spears has modeled one of the best things that a postpartum parent can do: Take care of herself. In this regard, postpartum parents would be wise to follow her example.


Jennifer said...

So I'm alarmingly up-to-date on Britney, etc. 'cause I keep getting US Weeklys from a friend. When I first heard about Britney and Anna Nicole, my first thought was ppd.

And I completely agree with you! Divorce, public humiliation, child custody battles, rumors, drugs... Childbirth alone is enough to initiate depression, let alone all of this.

The latest edition of Newsweek dismisses Britney & co. as "prosti-tots," but it's so clear to me that there are real lessons to be learned from these overexposed blonds-- lessons that are far deeper than anyone's giving them credit for!

Shannon said...

Prosti-tots--I've never heard that one before! That's awful. That's letter-to-the-editor-quality awful. I just hope that these families can rise above the fray--and that observers recognize that they need privacy and support at this time, not more unflattering video or photographs.

Baby Keeper said...

The research is pretty clear that women who give birth surgically are more likely to experience postpartum depression.

This study was done by one of my colleagues, Pauline Dunamas.
She has another one online right now.

I find it interesting that their surgical births -- with the stardom and lack of privacy -- is not even a consideration of part of their problems for either Britney or Anna Nicole or Angelina for that matter.

Stardom is certainly a huge, huge factor.

Shannon said...

I was unaware that Caesarean sections were linked to a higher rate of PPMDs, though that makes sense since C-section is more likely in the case of a traumatic birth event. I will have to check out your colleague's research. Thanks for including the link, so we all can be better informed.