Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Postpartum depression, also called 'postpartum blues' or 'baby blues', is a condition in which a woman has moderate to severe clinical depression after childbirth. It usually occurs 3-4 days after delivery of the baby but can occur at any time upto one year after childbirth.
It is natural for many new mothers to have mood swings after delivery, feeling joyful one minute and depressed the next. Feelings of anxiety, irritation, tearfulness, and restlessness are common in the week or two after pregnancy. These feelings are known as the 'postpartum blues' or 'baby blues', and often go away by the end of the second week of delivery without the need for treatment.
But some women may experience a deep and ongoing depression which lasts much longer and can get worse instead of better as time goes by. This is clinical depression and needs treatment for a complete recovery.
The incidence of postpartum depression is believed to range between 10-20%. Women who have had postpartum depression in previous deliveries have a 50% more chance of developing it again.
It is suspected that most of the women who suffer from postpartum depression have an underlying subclinical depression which flares up due to the pressures and stresses of a normal pregnancy.
Women who complain during the pregnancy that the baby is unwanted or that she is having marital problems should be carefully watched during the postpartum period. She is likely to develop depression to a greater or lesser extent after chidbirth.
Although the terms 'postpartum blues' and 'postpartum depression' are used interchangeably for the same condition, researchers describe them as different conditions. There are three types of postpartum depression.
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Management / Treatment of Postpartum Depression
Most women with postpartum depression usually recover completely with proper care and treatment.
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