Studies have shown that some women suffer from depression after giving birth. In fact, one study indicates that 14 percent of women are affected by postpartum depression. Researchers recommend that new mothers and pregnant women be screened for signs of depression. In some cases, the symptoms are serious. Researchers explain that 1/5 of women have thoughts of not wanting to wake up and get out of bed and wanting to die. Patients with severe symptoms often have suicidal thoughts.
Some women are more vulnerable, but the reasons why depression affects new mothers are unknown. Genes, sleep deprivation, hormonal changes and fluctuations, and other factors may play a role. Other reasons include less freedom and time for oneself, changes in social relationships, work schedule, and regime, and other non-hormonal factors. Some women are at a higher risk for postpartum depression, including young mothers and those with little support from their partner, spouse, friends, and family members. Women with housing and financial problems and poor relationships are also more likely to suffer from depression. Other factors that increase the risk for depression include smoking, illegal substances, and alcohol abuse. Women who have had an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or depression before are more likely to suffer from depression. Finally, those who had a premature or emergency delivery or a stressful event (illness or death in the family) are at a higher risk.
The most important thing is to recognize the symptoms of depression. The list includes restlessness, tearfulness, irritation, and anxiety. Other symptoms include loss of energy and concentration, lack of pleasure, feeling withdrawn, and loss of appetite. Some women also have negative or intense feelings for the baby.
According to researchers, early diagnosis and treatment are very important. Patients must be screened after delivery and during the third trimester. The good news is that treatment methods are highly effective once diagnosed. The problem is that many new mothers feel unwell, guilt-ridden, and embarrassed and don’t seek treatment. Psychologists recommend counseling and treatment to help new mothers to sift through their emotions and feelings.