Postnatal depression (PND) also known as postpartum depression, is a type of depression that affects both mothers and fathers after the birth of a child.
Empirical research has shown that postnatal depression is a real and serious condition that affects around 10-15% of new mothers. It is believed to be caused by a combination of hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and psychological factors, such as stress and anxiety.
Women who have a history of depression or anxiety are also at a higher risk of developing postnatal depression.
Symptoms of postnatal depression can vary from person to person, but common signs may include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, as well as difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and a lack of interest in activities that the person used to enjoy. Some women may also experience anxiety, irritability, and difficulty bonding with their baby.
More specifically, see the following list of symptoms that were found to be most common in PND in recent research:
· Feeling sad, hopeless, or empty · Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy · Having trouble bonding with your baby · Feeling anxious or irritable · Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much · Having trouble concentrating or making decisions · Having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
If you are experiencing any of the above, please note it is not necessarily reflective of you as a person or a parent, but may well be one of the characteristic symptoms of postnatal Depression. Postnatal depression is different from "baby blues," which is a common condition that affects up to 80% of new mothers. Baby blues typically occur within the first few days after giving birth and are characterized by mood swings, crying spells, and feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. Baby blues usually resolve on their own within a week or two and do not require treatment.
While PND is commonly associated with mothers, research has shown that up to 1 in 10 fathers also experience symptoms of postnatal depression. The symptoms of PND in fathers are similar to those experienced by mothers and can include feelings of sadness, irritability, guilt, and hopelessness. Fathers with PND may also experience changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and they may have difficulty bonding with their children.
There are several factors that can contribute to PND in fathers. These can include a history of depression or anxiety, financial stress, relationship problems, lack of support from family or friends, and a difficult birth experience. Fathers who have a partner with PND are also at an increased risk of developing PND themselves.
Treatment for postnatal depression typically involves a combination of therapy and medication, although the best course of action will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual needs of the mother. It is important for new mothers to seek help if they are experiencing symptoms of postnatal depression, as untreated depression can have long-term effects on both the mother and her child.
Overall, it is important to recognize that PND can affect both mothers and fathers and that seeking help is a crucial step toward recovery.