postpartum depressionResearchers from the Altarum Institute in Maine recently published a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal describing the prevalence of postpartum depression symptoms in the female WIC population. Data was collected from 22 states for use in the study. All participants answered two questions pertaining to postpartum depression symptoms.

Depressive symptoms were found in 14% of the study population. Among women who participated in WIC, 19.8% reported symptoms compared to just 6.8% of women ineligible for the WIC program. Young women with less education and a lower economic standing were more likely to suffer symptoms. There were no significant differences between women participating in WIC and women eligible for the program that chose not to participate in WIC.

Conclusion: WIC provides support to more than one million women about 20% of who suffer postpartum depression symptoms. WIC has a unique opportunity to screen women for postpartum depression and educate women who are suffering from depression on possible treatment and support options.

Source: Pooler J, Perry DF, Ghandour RM. Prevalence and Risk Factors for Postpartum Depressive Symptoms Among Women Enrolled in WIC. Matern Child Health J. 2013 Jan 18.