Peripartum depression is a debilitating mental disorder that occurs in 15–20% of childbearing women each year, resulting in approximately 600,000–800,000 new cases of peripartum depression annually (1)
Maternal suicide accounts for up to 20% of postnatal deaths in depressed women (2)
During pregnancy and the postnatal period, many changes occur in a woman’s body, both mentally and physically. Sudden drops in estrogen and progesterone that occur immediately after giving birth could be one-factor influencing postpartum depression (3)
Postpartum ‘blues’ occurs in 50–80% of new mothers, signs and symptoms appear within 1–2 days postpartum and often resolve spontaneously within 10–14 days;(4) however, up to 25% of patients with postpartum blues develop PPD (5)
Postpartum depression develops within one month of childbirth and may last up to one year.
Mothers are contraindicated in breastfeeding when taking SSRI’s to deal with their PPD due to contamination from the medication metabolites found in her breast milk. This lack of skin-to-skin contact and participation in a universal motherly role could possibly create a further segregation between the mother and child, potentially compiling to the feelings of postpartum depression.
The next post will include alternative approaches that have been studied for individuals experiencing PPD which won’t prevent mothers from breastfeeding and bonding with their children.
If you are suffering from, or believe you could be suffering from, peripartum depression, please seek advice from a registered health care practitioner.
Listed below are some of the organisations that are designed to support individuals experiencing PPD:
- Postpartum Support International
- PNI UK
- The Association for Postnatal Illness
- PPD is not just isolated to females, this can also affect males.
- J Midwifery Womens Health. 2013 Nov-Dec; 58(6): 643–653.
- Lindah l V, Pearson J L, Colpe L. Prevalence of suicidality during pregnancy and the postpartum. Arch Womens Ment Health 2005;8:77–87.
- Phytomedicine. 2017 Dec 1;36:145-152. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.10.005. Epub 2017 Oct 7.
- Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Sep; 52(3):456-68.
- Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2001 Mar; 80(3):251-5.