Eating more fish could help protect vulnerable women from post-natal depression, research suggests.
Evidence points to low levels of omega-3 fatty acid, chiefly found in oily fish, playing a key role in the condition.
A combination of omega-3 deficiency and genetic factors may trigger depression after childbirth, scientists believe.
Between 10% and 15% of mothers are believed to suffer post-natal, or post-partum depression (PPD) during the first year after giving birth.
The condition is more serious than “baby blues”, a mild reaction that commonly occurs within the first few days of delivery, but much less severe than post-partum psychosis which affects fewer than one in 500 mothers.
Mothers with PPD tend to be disengaged, unresponsive and even hostile towards their children, who may suffer psychiatric problems as a result.
But scientists in Canada said the evidence was preliminary and needed to be confirmed.