The study looked at data of over 6,000 women living in rural, semirural, semiurban and urban settings and found that 10 percent of women living in urban areas where more susceptible to postpartum depression compared to six percent of women in rural areas, seven percent in semirural, and only five percent in semiurban areas.
While it is not understood what causes PPD, some research links it to hormonal changes after pregnancy and lifestyle changes brought on by the infant, including lack of social support. Poverty, history of depression, smoking, and anxiety are also potential contributors.
So what makes an urban landscape for an unhealthy motherhood environment? Perhaps it factors in on the combustion and stresses of large cities. Cities tend to have a higher rate of people suffering from mood disorders and psychosis compared to those in rural or suburban settings.
Certain studies also suggest that those who live or were raised in cities show distinctly heightened differences in activity in certain brain regions, like the amygdale, the region that regulates emotions such as anxiety and fear.
Many people may ask why this is, but a simple reverting back to basics can answer this question simply. It isn’t natural. We are not meant to be torn from our instinctual environments within nature. It’s easy to feel separate from something as simple as fresh air and trees within a busy, polluted city. And while the latter can be culturally stimulating, it can also be contributing greatly for the ways in which mental health diagnoses have increased.
In the days of living on the prairie, people often got the right amount of sleep, the right amount of exposure to sunlight, the right amount of exercise (working the fields), the right amount of nutritional intake (fresh food, no pesticides), and the right amount of exposure to social communities. They worked with nature the way it was intended.
A mother (or father) suffering from postpartum depression are likely exposing their children to the very same mental health problems they endure, depending upon the contributions. So whether an urban, suburban or rural life is for you, all should look to the benefits of what environment would best suit the family as a whole.
Written By: Annie Elizabeth Martin