Monday 13 May 2013

Postpartum Depression

In a study published in March this year in  JAMA Psychiatry 1,396 of 10,000 mothers screened positively for postpartum depression on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). This study sponsored by the publicly funded National Institute of Mental Health in the US shows that depression after childbirth is a significant problem. Unfortunately, postpartum depression remains underidentified and undertreated. Some of the following are common myths about Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is the same as baby blues.

Unlike baby blues that goes away after a few days, postpartum depression lasts for weeks to months. The symptoms of PPD is the same as for a Major Depressive Episode. 

PDD is normal and ok to be sad after having a baby.

Whilst changes in mood may be normal after birth, if they are prolonged or are affecting your ability to care for your child, you should seek medical attention. If left treated, PDD can lead to:

1) Inconsistent and poor childcare
2) Avoidant or venting type of coping strategies with child
3) Insecure attachment between mother and child (may result in anxiety and depression of the child in later life)
4) Risk and danger if mother becomes agitated or suicidal with depression

PDD occurs right after birth.

It can occur right after birth or even up to a year later. Most of the time it occurs within three months.

Treatment for PDD will prevent me from breastfeeding and harm my baby.

Effective treatment is available for PDD. Antidepressants safe for pregnancy can be used to treat PDD after the risks and benefits have been discussed. Psychological therapy with techniques such as CBT is also useful.

It is unfortunate that PDD often goes unrecognised leading to tragedies such as these. Seek help today as PDD  can be treated!