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Definition of Postnatal Depression with Signs and Causes

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Postnatal Depression Definition

The postnatal depression signs appear at any time before and after the delivery of your baby. About 1 in 7 (14%) of women will develop postnatal depression and 10% will experience symptoms during pregnancy (ante-natal depression).

In postnatal depression, symptoms may appear suddenly or take a few weeks or months to become apparent. It is known that post-natal depression occurs after spontaneous abortion, the death of the baby or delivery. It is more common with the first baby, but it can happen with any pregnancy.

The risks posed by post natal depression are significant. Associates and family members are asked to monitor the woman for signs of suicidal thoughts, self-harm, harm to the baby or substance abuse.

Postnatal Depression Causes

Postnatal depression does not have a single cause. A series of risk factors combine to cause depression and anxiety. The most common causative factors for post-natal depression are having a family and personal history of depression, a stressful pregnancy, severe “baby sadness,” a complicated or prolonged birth, and problems with the neonate’s condition.

Postnatal Depression Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of postnatal depression are the same as for general depression. These are listed below.

  • Evaluation of Postnatal Depression

Registering a complete physical, social and family history is a good place to start the evaluation. The symptoms of post-natal depression are examined specifically after obtaining the general history and diagnoses. A self-assessment scale is used to detect postnatal depression and measure the severity of depression.

A common scale is the Edinburgh Natal Depression Scale (EPDS). A score of 10 or more indicates that the woman may be depressed and the woman must be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist for diagnosis. The EPDS is a useful comparator of women’s depression over time when administered regularly.

  • Diagnosis of Postnatal Depression

The actual diagnosis of post-natal depression is simple. Basic diagnostic tests are used to rule out any possible underlying source of depression. The doctor examines in detail the stress factors in a woman’s life. The main obstacle is trying to convince women to seek help.

It is likely that women with ante-natal depression hide their symptoms and carry on despite the consequences. There is a misconception that motherhood is easy and a joyful experience. This is the case of some women, but other new mothers do not have this experience of cheerfulness. The disgrace of mental illness adds to depression.

  • Complications of Postnatal Depression

If left untreated, postnatal depression has a negative impact on the relationship of women with their baby, partner, family and friends. Most women with postnatal depression express that they love their child, but a connection between mother and baby can not be confirmed healthy or trustworthy.

Postnatal depression does not resolve itself. If the depression is not identified in specified period, it can not be diagnosed or treated fully, as it should be. Post-natal depression will persist and possibly reappear as another form of depression in later life. Most women recover completely from post-natal depression without stigma of long-term complications.

Treatment of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression responds well to a combined treatment strategy consisting of emotional support, psychological support and proper medication. The antidepressant medication is the core basis of the treatment. Most women can continue to take antidepressants for the period of six months to two years. Women with postnatal depression should be informed that antidepressants are not addictive and can be taken safely during breastfeeding.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective procedure to relieve depression and anxiety by providing the individual with realistic strategies to control their disease. This encourages self-control of stressful events and depression.

Hospitalization is indicated, when a woman has suicidal tendencies, a risk for herself or for others or if medical attention has not achieved stability of mood. Ideally, the mother and the baby are admitted to a mother-baby unit. A woman in postpartum psychosis is admitted to a mental health center without her baby until the psychosis dilemma has resolved fully.

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