What is Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is also known as postnatal depression which is a form of clinical depression that tends to affect women more than men specifically after childbirth. The rate of prevalence of this condition is put at approximately 25 percent though they may be some discrepancies in the statistics which could make the figures slightly lower or higher than that. Women experience postpartum depression when they carry a child, this is usually in the first few months after delivery. The condition may last for several months or even a year, men also get affected by the condition and it’s more common in first time fathers more than in men who have older children.
The onset of postpartum depression most happens after the birth of a child usually about 4 weeks to six months after child birth. The condition is presents through reduced libido, changes in sleeping patterns, sadness and irritability. There has been a lot of speculation about why PPD occurs but no one is yet sure this condition occurs as the causes are not yet well understood. Most of the people affected by this condition usually recover with enough social support and group counseling.
The signs of PPD occur within one year after the birth of a child and presents in a myriad of ways which includes hopelessness, low self-esteem, guilt emptiness, exhaustion, a feeling of inadequacy in baby care, impaired speech and spells of anger towards others without much of provocation. Mostly PPD is diagnosed using Edinburg postnatal depression scale. Mothers who are at risk of developing PPD score 13 units and above on the scale.
Certain factors are seen as contributing factors in causing the condition though PPD is not yet well understood. These factors include; formula feeding rather than breastfeeding, cigarette smoking. Low self esteem prenatal anxiety and low social support are other factors to be considered. Single parenting and low-economical status are also other factors that are likely to lead to PPD.
Women with fewer resources have shown tendency of postpartum depression more than their counterparts who are doing much better. At the same time women who conceive unintentionally show the likelihood of developing PPD than women who planned to get the baby.PPD has been associated with a lack of certain vitamins though this is still hotly debated. Other studies have shown that hormonal changes during pregnancy are to blame for the condition. Hormonal change as a factor in PPD has been questioned since fathers experience PPD yet they don’t have hormonal changes as they don’t carry the pregnancy.
Some experts have argued that the problem with PPD is descended from our ancestors who had real problems especially if they failed to get the intended social support from their kinsmen once a child was born. This is deemed more true of mothers in ancient times as they had hard times making significant contribution in the life of the new child when they lacked support from fathers or the larger society. It’s important to note that mother who has PPD should not be construed mentally ill; however they may not be so able to take care of their child as ably as mothers who don’t have the condition.