A team of Long Island doctors thinks Pitocin, a drug often used to induce labor, may increase the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety by 36 percent.
Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research first thought the drug may reduce depression and anxiety.
“We were very surprised. We sat with the data and we ended up with the exact same finding no matter how we analyzed our data. We kept coming up with an increased risk in postpartum depression.”
This study was based on more than 40,000 births. Deligiannidis wants her next study to include details such as a family history of mental illness.
Postpartum depression affects one in eight new mothers, and it can be severe enough to cause suicidal thoughts.