Epidural cuts mums' chances of 

By Karl Billings

Mothers-to-be who use pain relief during childbirth may have a lower risk of depression after their babies are born, a leading psychiatrist has said.

Around one in 10 women suffer from post-natal depression, according to the British National Health Service (NHS).

Now new research from China has found that those who have an epidural for pain relief during labour during a normal birth have a lower rate of depression than those who go without.

Those who had the pain relief had a 14pc rate of depression at six weeks postpartum compared to nearly 35pc for those who did not have an epidural.


The study also found that breastfeeding was more common in the group who had an epidural for pain compared to those who did not.

Prof Katherine Wisner, a perinatal psychiatrist at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, said postpartum controlling pain during childbirth and post delivery may reduce the risk of developing the condition.

In an editorial in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, she said: "Pain control gets the mother off to a good beginning rather than starting off defeated and exhausted... There is no way to have a delivery without pain, but controlling it makes a lot of sense."