Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Five: Facts About Postpartum Depression

- Depression after pregnancy is called postpartum depression.

- Depression after pregnancy occurs more often than most people realize. Approximately 15 percent of women experience significant depression following childbirth. The percentages are even higher for women who are also dealing with poverty and can be twice as high for teen parents.

- It is hard to recognize or identify postpartum depression. A new mother might not recognize depression or anxiety because she is tired, overwhelmed or simply adjusting to life with a baby. It is common to think that these feelings are just part of being a new mother. Postpartum depression is temporary and treatable, so it's important to notice the symptoms and get professional help if necessary.

- Symptoms can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. They differ for everyone, and might include the following:

  • Feelings of anger or irritability
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Appetite and sleep disturbance
  • Crying and sadness
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself

- Risk factors for postpartum depression can include:

  • A personal or family history of depression, anxiety or postpartum depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
  • Inadequate support in caring for the baby
  • Financial stress
  • Marital stress
  • Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
  • Mothers of multiples
  • Mothers whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
  • Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments
  • Women with a thyroid imbalance
  • Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)

(This week's Friday Five information was taken from the Postpartum Support International website. For more information about mental health, visit the NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania website.)

Photo: Mom showers baby with kisses,
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Contributed by Lora M. Dziemiela, Program Secretary

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