Autistic mothers face higher rates of post-natal depression
According to a new study of mothers of autistic children carried out by researchers at the University of Cambridge, autistic mothers are more likely to report post-natal depression compared to non-autistic mothers. The study finds that a better understanding of the experiences of autistic mothers during pregnancy and the post-natal period is critical to improving wellbeing. The team recruited an advisory panel of autistic mothers with whom they co-developed an anonymous, online survey. After matching, this was completed by 355 autistic and 132 non-autistic mothers, each of whom had at least one autistic child. In the study, sixty percent of autistic mothers reported they had experienced post-natal depression. As per the reports, only 12% of women in the general population experience post-natal depression. Autistic mothers had more difficulties in multi-tasking, coping with domestic responsibilities, and creating social opportunities for their child.
The study was supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC), East of England, at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, the Autism Research Trust, the MRC, the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, and Autistica.