Postpartum depression is a common phenomenon among women after childbirth. Many women suffer from mental health issues due to fluctuation in hormones during pregnancy. Other factors such as fatigue and emotional instability during this phase also lead to depression.
The duration of postpartum depression varies from woman to woman. It usually starts a few days after childbirth and can last up to several years depending upon the treatment.
The symptoms vary among different individuals but most commonly women suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Uncontrollable sadness and issues related to the baby are also some common symptoms.
The American Pregnancy Association states that this condition is not exactly “baby blues” which most of the women suffer from after childbirth. Although the symptoms of baby blues are similar to postpartum depression, it is not very long-lasting. Usually, the condition subsides within one or two weeks. However, PPD is a much longer phase with severe symptoms.
Nearly 10-20% of mothers suffer from postpartum depression alone in the US. The data provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that nearly 400,000 to 800,000 new moms experience PPD every year. Moreover, nearly half of the cases do not get a proper diagnosis.
A study conducted in 2005 shows that there is a high rate of suicide among women who experience PPD. Even though this is a common mental health issue, there is no proper way to screen new moms for this condition.
Even though a woman has a supportive family, she can suffer from postpartum depression and needs to seek help from a professional. They need assistance from an expert like in the case of any other disease. Also, the situation can worsen for the mother and the child if the condition goes undiagnosed.
Studies show that women of color experience worse mental health issues after childbirth due to their cultural background. Most of these women are also hesitant about this as they believe it is normal to experience after pregnancy.
The cultural expectation for these women put an enormous pressure which leads to a worse condition. These women of color can benefit from a support group in their community so they feel comfortable and get treatment accordingly.
The widely known treatment of Postpartum depression is psychological help. Women can talk to their friends and family about the issues they are facing. There are several healthy alternatives to let the mother feel better about her condition after pregnancy.
Even though many women suffer from this condition around the world, there are not many medications available to treat mental health illnesses. FDA approved an intravenous drug in 2019 particularly for the treatment of this condition. The drug is sold under the name Zulresso and it is the only drug available to treat this condition.
The mother usually feels alone during the phase after childbirth, so it is fairly difficult for her to reach out to a therapist. However, most of the women who went into therapy for this condition share a positive response. It can benefit both the mother and the child in the long term and eliminate the stigma around PPD present in society.