Introduction and objective:
Scientific studies report that the risk of symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) can significantly reduce breastfeeding time. It has not yet been shown whether there is a difference in cortisol levels in breast milk and serum cortisol levels in women at risk of PPD but without symptoms. The aim of the study was assessment of the levels of cortisol in breast milk and levels of serum cortisol in women at risk of PPD four weeks after birth.

Material and methods:
The study included 75 women who were recruited at a University Hospital and via social media. The proper study was conducted in the fourth week after delivery. The research tool used was The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Assessment of cortisol levels in breast milk was performed with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay CORTISOL saliva ELISA DiaMetra. Blood analysis was conducted in an ALAB Laboratory, one of a nationwide network of specialis laboratories.

The prevalence of the risk of PPD symptoms in the study sample was estimated at 28% in EPDS. The risk of PPD symptoms does not differentiate between cortisol levels in breast milk and serum cortisol levels (p>0.05). A correlation was shown between the level of cortisol in breast milk and in the blood serum of the study sample (p<0.03).

The study indicates that the risk of PPD symptoms does not differentiate between serum cortisol levels and cortisol levels in breast milk. The level of cortisol in breast milk reflects the level of cortisol in the blood serum of the subjects.

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