One in Every 10 Women Suffer From Postpartum Depression


Upset sad African American woman suffering from loneliness side view, sitting in bed alone, holding head in hands, upset girl has psychological troubles, trauma, thinking about problem in bedroom

One in every 10 women suffers from Postpartum Depression, this is according to Dr. Yusuf Adam from The Nairobi West Hospital.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common complication of childbearing and has increasingly been identified as a major public health problem.

‘Baby blues’ are mild depressive mood a woman experience a few hours after delivery up to 1-2weeks post-delivery commonly during the delivery of baby number one.

It is characterized by mood swings where u find sometimes u can be very happy n sometimes you might find yourself crying, restless anxious n loneliness and usually there is no much alarm in this case because this symptom fades away with time.

Unlike baby blues, Postpartum depression can happen not just to the first baby but other deliveries can still initiate the condition.

Dr. Yusuf Adam from The Nairobi West Hospital says sadness, anxiety, irritability, sleeping disorders, and general fatigue are much stronger than the baby blues that limit a mother from performing the simple task of changing the baby’s diapers.

Dr. Yusuf adds that PPD’s peculiar symptoms include depressed mood swings, crying, difficulty bonding with your baby, withdrawing from family and friends, intense irritability and anger, severe anxiety and panic attacks, contemplating suicide, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

2018 research by the National Library of Medicine found that out of 171 women correspondents who were followed up 6-10 weeks postpartum, 18.7% were found to have severe postpartum depression.

Dr. Yusuf says untreated maternal depression has multiple potential negative effects on maternal-infant attachment and child development.

“Screening for depression in the perinatal period is feasible in multiple primary care or obstetric settings, and can help identify depressed mothers earlier.”

The study by the National Library of Medicine also established that partner conflict increased postpartum depression seven-fold.

Dr. Yusuf further says it’s essential for families and society at large to create awareness about PPD and help the victims out of it, and support the survivors to recover fully.

“It is essential for partners to keenly listen and communicate regularly with one another during pregnancy and after birth. This way, any signs of PPD will be easily noticed and addressed at the onset.”

“Women with postpartum depression may not recognize or admit that they’re depressed or they may not be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression. If you suspect that a friend or loved one has postpartum depression help them, seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait and hope for improvement.” Dr. Yusuf says

He says it’s advisable to try and mitigate serious adverse outcomes of PPD as there has been increasing focus on the importance of early and accurate detection and treatment of depression after or during pregnancy.

Dr. Yusuf further notes that Electroconvulsive therapy medications can be used in the case where the patient is resistant to medication.

“Electroconvulsive therapy is an option for depressed postpartum women who do not respond to antidepressant medication or who have severe or psychotic symptoms.” He adds  

Finally, the high prevalence of significant postnatal depressive symptoms among Kenyan women calls for an urgent need for addressing this public health burden.

Depression screening and psychosocial support interventions that address partner conflict resolution should be offered as part of maternal health care.

The month of May is dedicated to Creating Awareness on Maternal Mental health.

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