There are several factors which influence the development of PPD;
Hormone fluctuations: The increase and decrease in estrogen and progesterone level during pregnancy affects mothers’ state of emotions. The reproductive hormones interact with neurotransmitter systems that affect one’s mood. The combination of emotional and biological change could have triggered the stress.
1. Fatigue: Scientists at Ohio State reported that experiencing extreme fatigue, more than two weeks after baby’s birth, is a strong predictor of developing PPD. A study from Case Western found that, during the first few weeks of life, mothers of twins had decreased sleep and triple the PPD risk compared to mothers of full term infants.
Stress: Having a baby would require parents to make changes and adjustments in their routine and schedule, which could be stressful. First-time parents may feel uncomfortable fitting into their new roles and responsibilities. Experienced parents would face additional demands from their other children while attending to their newborn.
Lack of support: According to psychiatry expert Dr.Suhaila Ghulom, a senior consultant at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Mental Health Service, new mothers who receive support from family and friends are less prone of experiencing PPD. Family members and friends can extend their support by looking after the newborn or assisting in household chores. Their help would lighten the parents’ responsibilities.
Prior depression: Depression tends to run in family. Parents who have had depression in the past are more vulnerable to PPD than others. An article published on www.mentalhealth.org.uk stated that having a history of affective problems may increase the risk of developing PPD. There is evidence indicating that almost a third of PPD begins in pregnancy or pre-pregnancy.
There are effective treatments for PPD. The treatments include;
Counselling: This treatment involves consulting a mental health professional. There are two types of counselling to be particularly effective in treating PPD.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people to recognize and change their negative thoughts and behaviors.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT), which helps people to understand and work through problematic personal relationships.
Medication: Antidepressants are medication that act on the brain chemicals. The medication works by balancing the mood-altering chemicals in the brain. It helps to ease some of the symptoms like lack of concentration, lack of appetite and low energy level. However, it is important to take note that the medication may not always be effective. Hence, it is necessary to combine antidepressants with the suitable form of therapy. Mothers are advised to speak to their doctors on the risks before consuming the medication.
Motherhood should be embraced by all mothers. They should not face postpartum depression alone. Neither should they be embarrassed of it.
Leong Kim Weng is a writer who writes about parenthood's articles. He uses this platform to reach out to the young parents. Writing for www.parentsdojo.com has given him the opportunity to learn and share interesting perspectives with others.