What you need to know about postpartum depression

File photo: Ask for help to look after the baby, divide the workload. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

File photo: Ask for help to look after the baby, divide the workload. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

Published Mar 10, 2022


According to research done by Michael W. O’Hara, a professor in the psychological and brain science department, Postpartum depression, also known as (PPD) is a serious mental health problem. It can also be defined as a moderate-to-severe depressive episode that, in most cases, begin within four weeks of birth.

Furthermore, he shares that the risk factors include; past depression, stressful or traumatic life events, poor marital relationships and social support.

As stated in a Cureus research article compiled by Ruba Alrehaili and Reema Albelowi, the signs and symptoms of Postpartum depression (PPD) include anxiety, sadness, sleep disturbances, appetite loss, lack of energy, disorientation, guilt or worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts.

Therefore it is of utmost importance to be aware of these factors because they can have a major affect on you and the health of your baby if not detected early. ’’Postpartum depression affects 13% to 19% of mothers, and if not treated properly, it can lead to postpartum psychosis,’’ states Alrehaili.

In a recent article published by Neuroscience News, there are a few risk factors that children of women who experience postpartum depression are more likely to develop, such as major depression and other psychiatric disorders, including developmental challenges for children, lower IQs and slower language development.

There are various factors that are linked to postpartum depression. This could include the age of the mother, the number of children, and many more.

“Most women with postpartum depression are not diagnosed or treated. Clinicians caring for new mothers can be aware of factors like age, first pregnancy, and twin pregnancies that put women at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression and screen and intervene early,” said Jennifer Payne, MD, the study’s senior author and director of the Reproductive Psychiatry Research Program at the UVA School of Medicine, in a Neuroscience News article.

There are ways to deal with postpartum depression if and when it is detected, as stated in asianet news:

  • Be aware of the symptoms to identify them at the earliest, rather than being in denial.
  • Express your emotional disturbance to the gynaecologist during a check-ups
  • Ask for help to look after the baby, divide the workload
  • Spend ‘me’ time at least an hour daily
  • Sleep is necessary for at least 6-8 hours a day
  • Listen to energising, happy music
  • Yoga and meditation or any form of exercise that relaxes you
  • Vent to your support system
  • Try to read motivational stories for at least 10 minutes
  • Family members need to be vigilant about the mental health of the mother and bring them to psychiatrist a without delay
  • Complete the course of any medication prescribed by a psychiatrist
  • Follow up regularly