Postpartum Depression: A Serious Problem Among Women

Postpartum depression is a serious problem among women.Once thought
of as a relatively minor phase within the postpartum cycle, it is now known
that it can seriously impair the individual woman’s ability to function
under the stress of new parenthood and can seriously erode the family, at a
point of foundational transition.Over the last twenty years doctors and
the general public have demonstrated greater knowledge of the problem of
postpartum depression through awareness and of coarse research.
According to the British Columbia Reproductive Mental Health Program
the prevalence of postpartum depression is relatively high but has risk
factors associated with age, social support level and prior history of
either previous postpartum depression or other forms of clinical
The most vulnerable time for a woman to develop onset of mood
disorders is during the postpartum period. Approximately 12- 16 % of
women experience depression during the postpartum period. Adolescent
mothers will experience depression more frequently. A diagnosis of
depression may be missed in the postpartum period because of the
demands of caring for a new infant. Changes in sleep, appetite,
fatigue and energy are common in both the normal postpartum period and
postpartum depression. Approximately 30% of women with a history of
depression prior to conceiving will develop postpartum depression.
Approximately 50% of women with a history of postpartum depression
will develop postpartum depression in a subsequent pregnancy.
Emotional disorders during the postpartum period can occur; during
labour and delivery, within a few days or weeks of delivery most
frequently starting within 6 weeks of delivery or at any time up to
one year following the birth. (BC Reproductive Mental Health Program,

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