Postpartum Depression|Sadness in Happiness


Postpartum depression is an acute depressive illness, that could be short or long-term, in which the mother of a newly born baby develops severe mood swinging.

Postpartum or the time after delivery should be period of joyfulness, since a new guest arrives at home. Unfortunately, during this time, many of the women pass through a psychological warfare.

This disorder is the advanced stage of postpartum blues. The later term is applied when a woman develops sadness, anxiety, loss of attention, irritability, inability to sleep, fright, weeping and crying spells.

According to an estimate, almost 40-80% of women after delivery use to develop these changes in their mood and thoughts. The changes in the mood and psychological problems may start to develop after just 2-3 days and reach at the peak within a week.

However; the good thing is that, these symptoms may start declining after two weeks of delivery and resolve automatically without any intervention. In minority of cases, the symptoms persist for indefinite time period, for that proper cure or the treatment becomes mandatory.

Coexisting Psychological Problems

She may develop other psychological problems, like panic disorder, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression including the episodes of weeping and other signs. The panic disorder and OCD can occur in postpartum depression simultaneously and further aggravates the condition.

Causative and Risk Factors

The exact cause of it is not known. However; according to the data available on the causes of this condition, there are multiple factors which have been found involved in the development of this illness.

The hormonal changes develop at the time of delivery play major role in the development of this condition. There are several women who are sensitive to the changes of hormones and hence they are vulnerable to develop postpartum depression due to the changes that happen in their hormonal cycles.

There are some other risk factors, associated with the development of this disorder. These risk factors include:

  • Previous history of depressive illness
  • Family history of major or minor depression
  • Depressive illness during pregnancy
  • Use of contraceptive pills
  • Stress associated with work and environment
  • Problem in the relationship and other activities.
  • The lack of social support from family, friends and husband or partner may also contribute in the development of this condition. 
  • Previous miscarriage, abortion or still birth are strongly associated with the development of this depression.

It is a common problem, which remain unidentified during perpeurium. Usually women try to hide their feelings from others, and hence they don’t share this really that they are in severe depression. Its prevalence is variable and it depends upon various factors, like environment, age of mother, previous pregnancies and other co-morbidity. The primiparous(having first pregnancy) women are at increased risk for developing it between 10 to 19 days after delivery.

As it is already mentioned, the hormonal changes after the delivery are the major contributors for the development of postpartum depression several clinical studies have proven the biochemical disturbance at the time of delivery which results in this condition.

However; the exact mechanism of how hormonal changes develop this problem is still poorly understood. Researches are going on to find out the exact mechanism of this disease so that the problem could be controlled effectively by providing suitable treatment.


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