Date of Award
Restricted Access Thesis
MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)
Physician Assistant Studies
Ryane Lester, PA-C
Postpartum depression affects a significant percentage of new mothers and poses risks to maternal well-being and infant care. Kangaroo care study examines the impact of skin- to skin contact on postpartum depression symptoms through a comparative case study of two mothers with full-term infants. One mother engaged in daily skin-to skin contact, while the other did not. Weekly assessments using the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EDPS) shows a notable decline in symptoms for the skin-to-skin contact participant, highlighting the potential benefits of this practice. More research is needed to explore its effectiveness in diverse cultural and social contexts.
Background: Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 10-20% of new mothers, causing mood disturbances within the first year after childbirth. It has showed to impact maternal well-being, family dynamics and child development. Some risk factors are hormonal changes, genetic predisposition, low self-esteem, and lack of social support. PPD the stigma and lack of awareness associated with it, often goes underdiagnosed. Addressing PPD requires comprehensive screening and tailored interventions. Research seeks to understand prevalence, risk factors and effective treatment to improve support and care for affected mothers and their families.
Participants: Two first-time mothers, aged 26 and 30, who delivered full-term, infants within the past three months. Study Design: Case study investigating the correlation between skin-to skin contact and postpartum depression symptoms.
Intervention: One participant practiced skin-to skin contact (Kangaroo care) for at least two hours daily with her infant, while the other did not perform skin-to skin contact. Assessment tool: The Edinburgh postnatal depression Scale (EDPS) was used for weekly assessment over six weeks to measure postpartum depression symptoms.
Follow-up: Both participants were followed for eight weeks after childbirth, completing weekly EDPS assessments. Data Analysis: EDPS scores were analyzed to compare postpartum depression symptoms between the skin-to skin contact and non-skin to skin- contact groups.
Result: Two-month case study, the participant practicing skin-to-skin contact showed a gradual decline in postpartum depression symptoms (EDPS score from 10 to 4). The control group participant, without, skin-to skin contact had fluctuating scores (EDPS score from 8 to 6). The skin-to skin contact participant reveals 20% decrease in postpartum depression symptoms compared to the control group (a 2-point difference). More research with larger and diverse populations is needed to confirm these findings.
Discussion: This case study followed two women for two months, using EDPS to assess postpartum depression symptoms. The skin-to skin contact participant showed a gradual decrease symptom (EDPS score from 10 to 4), while the control group had fluctuating scores of (EDPS score from 8 to 6). The small sample size and the similarities between participants limit the study reliability. In addition, the result suggests a potential benefit of skin-to skin contact in reducing postpartum depression risk. However, further research with larger and diverse populations is needed to get more true accurate representation of the findings.
Conclusions: Skin-to skin contact may play a role in reducing postpartum depression symptoms. Further research is needed to confirm these finding and explore its potential benefits for maternal mental health. Addressing postpartum depression and promoting skin-to skin contact can be vital for supporting mothers and their infants.
Mohamed, Hassan, "The impact of skin-to-skin contact with infants on postpartum depression: A comparative case study" (2023). Theses and Graduate Projects. 1571.