Postpartum depression (PPD)

Title: Postpartum depression (PPD)

Description:

Postpartum depression (PPD is a condition that includes a range of emotional and physical changes experienced by women after having a baby.

Content:

Postpartum depression (PPD is a condition that includes a range of emotional and physical changes experienced by women after having a baby. It can occur anytime within the year after the baby is born, but usually happens from three days to six weeks after delivery. PPD should not be confused with postpartum blues (baby blues), which is a common condition that usually starts within a few days after birth and can last for a few weeks. It typically does not require treatment. PPD is a form of clinical depression that only a qualified physician can diagnose. Exactly why PPD develops is not fully understood, but risk factors include a past history of depression (personal or family), as well as previous diagnoses of PPD. Other risk factors include fluctuating hormone levels, the stress of caring for a new baby, a lack of support from family and friends and sleep deprivation.  Patients with PPD can experience a variety of symptoms, many of which are identical to those experienced by patients with other types of depression. Some examples are anger, sadness and anxiety. Patients with postpartum psychosis experience more severe symptoms, such as delusion and paranoia. PPD is usually diagnosed during a physical examination when a physician reviews signs and symptoms experienced by the patient. A depression– screening questionnaire, such as the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, may be used to help identify mothers experiencing PPD. In some cases, the obstetrician-gynecologist (ObGyn) may refer the woman to a qualified mental health specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist for a complete evaluation. There are a number of ways that women may help improve their symptoms of PPD and postpartum blues on their own, such as eating a proper diet and getting adequate rest. If those measures are not successful, then psychotherapy, medications or hormone therapy may be prescribed.

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Disclaimer:

Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of The Federation of Antenatal Educators (FEDANT) unless specifically stated.

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