Columbia University came out with a study on February 5, that suggests that when general anesthesia is used in Caesarean deliveries, the chances of a new mom getting postpartum depression (PPD) increases. It is the first study to examine the effect that anesthesia may have on postpartum depression. PPD has increased “seven-fold” in the United States in the past 15 years.
According to the study, when comparing general anesthesia to regional anesthesia, regional numbs a larger part of the body but keeps the patient conscious, the odds of PPD increase immensely. It correlates with a 54 percent increase for PPD and a 91 percent increase for “suicidal thoughts or self-inflicting injury.”
Co-author of the study and Professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology at Columbia, Dr. Guohua Li, said, “Our findings underscore the need to avoid using general anesthesia for cesarean delivery whenever possible, and to provide mental health screening, counseling, and other follow-up services to obstetric patients exposed to general anesthesia.”
This news is kind of terrifying because a) anesthesia has an impact on PPD and b) PPD numbers are increasing. PPD is often overlooked or just plain ignored in society, so many women feel forgotten. In other postpartum news this week, a commercial by Frida Mom, a company that sells postpartum products, was rejected by ABC and the Oscars to air because it was “too graphic.”
Frida Mom posted the ad on social media to show just how “graphic” it is. With already a million views on Youtube, they introduce the video saying, “It's not ‘violent, political’ or sexual in nature. Our ad is not ‘religious or lewd’ and does not portray ‘guns or ammunition.’ ‘Feminine hygiene & hemorrhoid relief’ are also banned subjects. It’s just a new mom, home with her baby and her new body for the first time. And we wonder why new moms feel unprepared.”
This minute long ad shows a new mother woken up by her newborn. She gets up, with her visible postpartum belly, changes her mesh underwear and, in obvious pain, does postpartum care. It ends saying, “Postpartum recovery doesn’t have to be this hard,” and shows some of Frida Mom’s products.
A lot of people were outraged and emotional at the rejection of the ad. Actress Busy Philipps was among those supporters. On Instagram, she said, “I DO believe so strongly that the more we can NORMALIZE A WOMAN'S BODILY EXPERIENCE IN MEDIA, the better off our culture and society will be. AND YES THAT MEANS ADS TOO. You probably don't even flinch when an Erectile [Dysfunction] ad comes on but THIS AD IS REJECTED?!”
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This is an ad for new post partum products for women-this ad was rejected from ABC(see the repost below from the brand) I legit teared up when I just watched it. Partially because this is clearly an ad made by women who have been there and get it and partially because I DO believe so strongly that the more we can NORMALIZE A WOMAN'S BODILY EXPERIENCE IN MEDIA, the better off our culture and society will be. AND YES THAT MEANS ADS TOO. You probably don't even flinch when an Erectile Disfunction ad comes on but THIS AD IS REJECTED?! I think this is an incredible piece of advertising that accurately represents something millions of women know intimately. And I'm so fucking sick of living in a society where the act of simply BEING A WOMAN is rejected by the gatekeepers of media. Well. Shame on them and NOT on us for simply being human women. Cc: #seeher @seeher2020 #Repost ・・・ This is important. “The ad you’re about to watch was rejected by ABC & the Oscars from airing during this year’s award show. It's not “violent, political” or sexual in nature. Our ad is not “religious or lewd” and does not portray “guns or ammunition”. “Feminine hygiene & hemorrhoid relief” are also banned subjects. It’s just a new mom, home with her baby and her new body for the first time. And we wonder why new moms feel so unprepared.” —ad and words via @fridamom @abcnetwork
This important news about postpartum depression’s connection to general anesthesia and the rejection of Frida Mom’s ad showing ways that new moms can recover from postpartum really shows how often people want to avoid the topic of postpartum bodies and minds. We need to do more studies on postpartum depression, considering the scary increase in recent years and the fact that Columbia’s study was the first to consider a connection between anesthesia and PPD. We also need to remove the stigma of postpartum bodies. As a society, we love when women become pregnant and we love babies, but we don’t love new moms.
Header image courtesy of Frida Mom via Youtube
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Georgia is a journalism student at The New School in Manhattan who loves writing, watching cartoons and intersectional feminism. She is an avid napper and cat lover. Because she is behind on the times, follow her only recently made twitter @georgiagrdodd.