Facebook Identifies Postpartum Depression in New Moms

All of those baby pictures that dominate Facebook newsfeeds could be indicative of how new moms are coping with life post pregnancy.
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All of those baby pictures that dominate Facebook newsfeeds could be indicative of how new moms are coping with life post pregnancy.

Posting on Facebook all the time is often an indicator of how bored someone is with their life. But for new mothers, taking a peek at the activity on their accounts could help diagnose postpartum depression. And the ones that aren’t posting tons of pictures of their drooling bundles of joy might be the ones that need a little help.

The social media site’s access to all your information can feel a bit Big Brother-y, but a research team out of Georgia Tech found a way to help new mothers in the process. Led by Munmun De Choudhury, the team analyzed the Facebook accounts of 165 mothers along with a depression questionnaire and interviews. And the ones who are less active are more likely to be suffering from depression, according to Science News.

If you’re a mom who was never one to post on social media, that’s taken into account by tracking posts before and after giving birth. The study also found that moms who are struggling are also less likely to vent about their emotional state or admit to any hardships they’re going through.

After finding a correlation, the researchers developed a computer program that can identify which women are struggling. Moms exhibiting symptoms could theoretically be contacted and advised to seek medical care.

So the next time you gripe about seeing yet another picture of your high school friend’s kid smiling or screaming or wearing a silly hat, at least it probably means your friend is happy!

Top photo credit: iStock/JaysonPhotography