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The Baby Blues - Postpartum Depression

Posted May 25 2009 10:16pm

It is a fact that a large number of mothers find themselves in emotional turmoil within the first few weeks of the birth of a newborn. Approximately 50 - 60% of women are affected by this phenomenon known as the ‘Baby Blues’.

Approximately 5 - 10% of women affected by Baby Blues enter a more severe state referred to as Postpartum Depression (or Post Natal Depression), while a smaller number, approximately 1 in 1000 may be affected by a disturbance referred to as Postpartum Psychosis.

What affects the emotions of a new mother?

There are a number of factors that may affect the emotions of a new mother, which include:

  • Dramatic shifts in the levels of a number of hormones.
  • Blood loss during a normal delivery
  • The trauma of labor.
  • Pain experienced after a delivery, especially in the case of a caesarean.
  • Loss of sleep.
  • Expectations not met by the mother.
  • Lack of family support.
  • Financial problems.
  • Problems with the new baby.

These are some of the identified problems that lead to mothers being thrown into a state of Baby Blues.

Postpartum Blues

Postpartum Blues is the most common Baby Blues affect a new mother experience. Symptoms often include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, loss of energy, loss of appetite and loss of concentration.

This emotional state generally resolves itself within a couple of weeks with good family support.

Postpartum Depression

Although the symptoms are similar to that of Postpartum Blues, this is a more serious condition. This condition often lasts longer and the impact on mother and baby is more profound. Often mothers affected by Postpartum Depression experience difficulties in caring for her newborn child. They also develop an extreme anxiety over the newborn’s health.

This condition may occur within the first six month of a delivery. Mothers affected with this condition should immediately consult medical assistance.

Postpartum Psychosis

In these instances the mother will not only experience a disturbed mood, but she will also break ties with reality. Symptoms include hallucinations and delusions and this condition may present itself within the first month after delivery. Often these mothers may consider harming themselves and their infants.

Women diagnosed with this condition should immediately seek assistance from a qualified psychiatrist.

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