Post-partum depression is a type of psychological or mood disorder which comes under consideration only after childbirth. As its name itself suggests, Post- after, Partum- the period during or after childbirth.
- Post-partum depression may be seen in both parents but females [mothers] are more vulnerable to this type of depression.
- Its onset is very much specific that is from one week to one month following childbirth.
- Its symptoms include… Anxiety, crying episodes, sadness, changes in sleep patterns, irritability.
FACTORS AFFECTING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
- Bipolar disorder.
- Psychological stress.
- Family history of depression.
- Lack of family support.
- Complications of childbirth,
- Side effects of drug use.
- Its diagnosis mainly depends on symptoms.
Generally, the majority of women experience a short period of unhappiness and worry after childbirth but if these symptoms get severe and last over two weeks then the possibility of the woman developing post-partum depression is definite.
- One can prevent the risk of getting post-partum depression by receiving community support including mother care, household chores, food and companionship.
- Its treatment mainly includes counselling and medication.
- So as counselling is concerned cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and psycho-dynamic therapies mainly come under consideration.
- And for medicines point of view, SSRIs can be prescribed as per the need
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
- EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS…
- Frustration, restlessness, irritability.
- Feeling of hopelessness.
- Continuous anxiousness.
- Severe mood swings.
- Low self-esteem.
- Worthlessness, shame, guilt.
- Numbness, exhaustion, emptiness.
- Inability in bonding with baby.
- Hyperconsciousness about a child’s well-being.
- BEHAVIORAL SYMPTOMS…
- Poor self-care.
- Changes in appetite.
- Low libido.
- Social withdrawal.
- Lack of Interest in usual activities.
- Decreased energy and motivation.
- Persistent anxiety related to a child’s well-being.
- NEUROBIOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS…
- The neurobiological symptoms may occur due to decreased activity in the left frontal lobe and vice-versa in mothers suffering from PPD as compared to those who don’t.
- ONSET AND DURATION OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION.
The symptoms of post-partum depression may begin before childbirth so-called peripartum onset.
and may last up to several months or even a year.
Women suffering from a miscarriage can also undergo PPD.
A study shows that fathers can undergo PPD mostly during the 3 to 6 months following childbirth.
- MOTHER-INFANT RELATIONSHIP …
Post-partum depression is a treatable disease that provides effective counselling and treatment.
But the same if remained untreated then it can cause more severe troubles not only to a suffering mother but also causes a huge amount of damage to the child.
- Once its symptoms start to appear in children then at the same time suffering mother’s symptoms also start to worsen. And then this vicious cycle continues…
And due to this, a mother can develop a hostile relationship with her child. This further can lead to an extreme outcome such as infanticide. In the U.S an annual report obtained for infanticide shows that 8 per 1 million infants suffer infanticide per year.
POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IN FATHERS
Males suffer PPD in a lesser amount than their female partners.
- The causes of male PPD may include fewer amounts of testosterone, prolactin, estrogen and vasopressin hormones in males which leads to less affection towards infants resulting in PPD.
- Their symptoms are near about same as that of females.
CAUSES OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
- Hormonal changes.
- Physical factors.
- HORMONAL FACTORS:
As pregnancy progresses the female hormones [such as estrogen and progesterone] also increase in a remarkable amount so as to carry out a fruitful pregnancy outcome, but as soon as the child comes out of the mother’s womb a sudden and very sharp decline of those hormones occurred inside the body of mother resulting in the sudden hormonal imbalance which further results in the occurrence of signs and symptoms of PPD.
In addition to this birth inducing hormone called synthetic oxytocin may cause post-partum depression if used in high doses.
- PHYSICAL FACTORS…
As we know that the birth of a child is a very exhausting and painful process, the exhausted mother may experience sudden changes in her daily routine, sleepless nights, exhaustion etc. these events may lead to PPD in females.
RISK FACTORS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
These are mainly classified into two categories…
- Biological factors.
- Psychological factors.
- Biological factors mainly include,
- Hormonal irregularities.
- Genetic history of PPD
- Excess of synthetic oxytocin.
- Neuroendocrine irregularities.
- Inflammatory illness.
- Cigar rete smoking.
- Psychological factors mainly include,
- Post-partum blues.
- Hereditarily depression.
- History of sexual abuse.
- Stressful pregnancy.
- Prenatal anxiety.
- Birth-related physical or psychological trauma.
- Previous miscarriage.
- Childhood trauma.