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Deployed Military Women At Increased Risk For Post-Childbirth Depression

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Pregnant soldier

Military women who face combat in deployment after having a baby face an increased risk of depression, according to a new study from San Diego State University, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda.

The study finds most of the 16,000 service women on active duty who have babies each year return to service 6 weeks after giving birth, and can be deployed after 4 months. According to researchers, the new mothers who faced combat experience during deployment had an increased risk of depression:

Military women who deployed with combat-like experiences after childbirth were at increased risk for post-deployment maternal depression. The risk, however, appeared primarily related to combat rather than childbirth-related experiences.

Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Women's Heath, said of the study:

"With increasing numbers of women in the military and being exposed to combat experiences, it is critical for us to better understand maternal depression among our female service members."

You can read the entire study, called "Is Military Deployment a Risk Factor for Maternal Depression?" on the Journal of Women's Health website.

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