What is Postnatal Depression? Signs and Risk FactorsAuthor: John Don
Postnatal depression is estimated to affect 1 in 5 women and is found in all cultural, social and age groups. There are different types of this condition experienced by mothers after birth. There is the 'Baby Blues' which usually occurs between the 3rd and 5th day and usually resolve by the 10th day. It is thought to be the response to hormone changes and the stress of giving birth and occurs in up to 70% of women.
- Postnatal depression has a gradual onset between the 3rd and 9th month.
- Postpartum Psychosis occurs in approximately 1 in 500 births and is quite rare. It seems to be genetically linked and typically occurs after the first baby. It presents as a manic depressive illness and requires urgent psychiatric treatment.
This condition results in a disturbance of mood, disturbance of thoughts and physiological disturbances. These disturbances and symptoms of postnatal depression will be discussed:
Disturbance of Mood
This includes the experience of a depressed mood, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, failure, shame, guilt, fear, anger and panic. Feelings of fatigue and exhaustion and the loss of sexual desire.
Disturbance of Thoughts
Poor concentration, loss of ability to plan and carry through tasks, poor memory, confused thinking, intrusive thoughts (eg thoughts of serious illness or death of self, baby or partner).
The mother may experience sleep disorder such as difficulty falling asleep, early morning waking, always fatigued and exhausted. She may also experience stress symptoms such as panic attacks, tightness in the chest and stomach. Appetite changes, either a loss of appetite or overeating may be experienced.
A number of factors are thought to contribute to postnatal mood disorders. Current research indicates that psychological, biochemical and environmental or social factors affect the onset of postnatal depression.
There are a number of factors that predispose a woman to this condition. One of the most significant risk factors is having a previous psychiatric illness or emotional problems. Women who have previously had depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are at a greater risk.
Obstetric and gynecological problems impact a mother's physical health and can impact her emotional well being. This can include caesarean birth, permittivity, previous miscarriage, previous termination of pregnancy, neonatal death, and previous history of infertility.
If the baby or mother has problems post birth this can also increase the possibility of postnatal depression. Problems such as the baby experiencing gastric reflux, excessive crying, breastfeeding problems, sleep deprivation, low iron levels.
In addition environmental and relationship factors can impact a mother and predispose her to postnatal depression. Lack of support from ones partner or own mother can be significant. This may be through death, separation or conflict in the relationship. Furthermore a mother's isolation from extended family or friendship network can impact postnatal depression. This can be significant particularly for first time mothers who may shift from a busy life in full time work to being isolated at home. Women who would describe themselves as high achievers or perfectionists are at greater risk of postnatal depression as are women with anxious personalities. Finally if the woman experiences multiple stressors in her past or present life these may contribute to the onset of postnatal depression.
Getting back in shape after birth will really help with depression after pregnancy
Mothers feeling low after childbirth, Postnatal DepressionAuthor: Sarah Hart
Postnatal depression is a common depressive illness and occurs in 1 to 7 to 10 mothers; it is common for women after giving birth to a child to experience feeling low. Nobody knows what causes postnatal depression but it has been concluded although there is no actual explanation for PND that the illness may arise due to the hormone change after childbirth also the stress of looking after a new baby and the disrupt to a mothers sleep can effect susceptible people.
Symptoms of PND;
- Feeling low
- Being unable to enjoy yourself
- Finding it hard to go to sleep
- Constantly exhausted
- Feeling worthless, hopeless
- (Maybe) Appetite
- Feeling there's no way out of their (family) problems
PND is treatable; it is treated in the same way as ordinary depression. Talking about the problem to somebody such as a health professional like the mother's health visitor or doctor will help the mother get additional help and support they may need with looking after a baby and getting treatment with depression. The most important thing to remember is to get better as soon as possible for the sake of mother and baby.
Baby blue's the commonest and mildest form of PND following childbirth, it is normal for baby blues to occur, it consists of the mother experiencing spells of irritability, feeling down and upset or a crying for a few days. It is more common for first time mothers and who have experienced problems with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS or PMT). It is known to probably be caused by the rapid female hormone changes the mother has been going through since giving birth to her, baby blues tends to sort and normally doesn't require and other treatment than reassurance from others such as professionals, family and friends, that what they are experiencing is completely normal.
Is a very rare complication of depression after childbirth, it affects 1 in every 500 women or so, mainly it occurs in mothers that have had previous medical history of serious mental illness or has a strong family history of mental illness, the symptoms felt by a person with postnatal psychosis is depression, other symptoms include false ideas, delusions, hearing voices and hallucinating. These symptoms appear from couple of days after childbirth or can even start up to a few weeks after a mother giving birth.
This type of PND requires treatment and which treatment the mother needs depend on the symptoms the mother is having or feeling, this will normally involve a psychiatrist and it is imperative for the mother to get help and treatment as soon as possible.
Sarah is a BTEC qualified Nursery nurse and has many years experience working with children.She Can be found At Cheeky Chums superstore dedicated just for premature babies.
Beat depression after pregnancy- Be a happy, healthy Mommy- Read more here