Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 195–201 | Cite as

Newborn gender as a predictor of postpartum mood disturbances in a sample of Swedish women

  • Sara M. Sylvén
  • Fotios C. Papadopoulos
  • Vassilios Mpazakidis
  • Lisa Ekselius
  • Inger Sundström-Poromaa
  • Alkistis Skalkidou
Original Article


Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition that affects about 10% of newly delivered women. The aim of this study was to examine the possible association between offspring gender and risk for development of PPD in Sweden. The study was undertaken as part of the UPPSAT project, a population-based longitudinal study in Uppsala, Sweden. From May 2006 to June 2007, women who gave birth at Uppsala University Hospital and fulfilled the inclusion criteria were asked to participate. The participating women filled out, at three points during the first 6 months after delivery, questionnaires containing the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale as well as questions concerning various lifestyle factors, medical history, breast feeding habits, social support parameters, and diet factors. No significant difference in risk of PPD in relation to baby gender could be shown 6 weeks and 6 months after delivery. However, women who gave birth to a male offspring had a significantly higher risk of self-reported depressive symptomatology 5 days after delivery. The association remained statistically significant after adjustment for possible confounders in a logistic regression model. This longitudinal study demonstrates that, in Sweden, the gender of the offspring is not associated with a higher risk for self-reported postpartum depression in the mother 6 weeks or 6 months after delivery. The birth of a baby boy, however, gives the mother a higher risk of postpartum blues 5 days after delivery.


Depression Postpartum Postnatal Gender Newborn Risk factor 



The authors would like to sincerely thank all the mothers who participated in this study, as well as all the employees at the Department of Obstetrics, Uppsala University Hospital, who helped with the distribution of questionnaires and blood sampling.

The authors would also like to express their gratitude to Lena Moby, Jenny Juhlin, and Tina Säfström for their dedication and hard work for the computerization of all data used in this study, as well as Matts Olovsson for contributing in the planning of the study.

Funding for this study was provided by grants from the Swedish Research Council, the Council for Working Life and Social Research, the Swedish Society of Medicine, the Åke-Wiberg Foundation, the Söderström-Köningska Foundation, Allmänna BBs Minnesfond, and the Gillbergska Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara M. Sylvén
    • 1
  • Fotios C. Papadopoulos
    • 2
  • Vassilios Mpazakidis
    • 3
  • Lisa Ekselius
    • 2
  • Inger Sundström-Poromaa
    • 1
  • Alkistis Skalkidou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Women’s and Children’s HealthUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience, PsychiatryUniversity HospitalUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Helena VenizelosMaternity HospitalAthensGreece

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