Journal of Medical Internet Research (Nov 2020)

The Relationship Between Images Posted by New Mothers on WeChat Moments and Postpartum Depression: Cohort Study

  • Zhang, Weina,
  • Liu, Lu,
  • Cheng, Qijin,
  • Chen, Yan,
  • Xu, Dong,
  • Gong, Wenjie

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 11
p. e23575


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BackgroundAs social media posts reflect users’ emotions, WeChat Moments, the most popular social media platform in China, may offer a glimpse into postpartum depression in the population. ObjectiveThis study aimed to investigate the features of the images that mothers posted on WeChat Moments after childbirth and to explore the correlation between these features and the mothers' risk of postpartum depression. MethodsWe collected the data of 419 mothers after delivery, including their demographics, factors associated with postpartum depression, and images posted on WeChat Moments. Postpartum depression was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Descriptive analyses were performed to assess the following: content of the images, presence of people, the people’s facial expressions, and whether or not memes were posted on WeChat Moments. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify the image features associated with postpartum depression. ResultsCompared with pictures of other people, we found that pictures of their children comprised the majority (3909/6887, 56.8%) of the pictures posted by the mothers on WeChat Moments. Among the posts showing facial expressions or memes, more positive than negative emotions were expressed. Women who posted selfies during the postpartum period were more likely to have postpartum depression (P=.003; odds ratio 2.27, 95% CI 1.33-3.87). ConclusionsThe vast majority of mothers posted images conveying positive emotions during the postpartum period, but these images may have masked their depression. New mothers who have posted selfies may be at a higher risk of postpartum depression. Trial RegistrationInternational Clinical Trials Registry Platform ChiCTR-ROC-16009255;