Overview: Depression After Childbirth

postnatal

 The concept of childbearing and the after-effects of finally giving birth to the child is overwhelming, such that it cannot be thoroughly dissected in this article. This article is focused on a particular case study. Before going into that:

What is postpartum depression?

PPD is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in a woman after giving birth. It is a significant form of depression that has its onset within four weeks after delivery. This type of depression is linked to chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. PPD deals with chemical changes that occur within the mother’s reproductive system during and after childbirth, and it was observed that the levels of estrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive hormones, increased tenfold during pregnancy. Then, they drop sharply after delivery. This type of depression occurs in at least 1-7 mothers after childbirth.

Common symptoms associated with this form of depression are Difficulty in sleeping, appetite changes, excessive fatigue, decreased libido, and frequent mood changes. PPD’s are more often than not associated with symptoms of significant depressions, which is not familiar to childbirth, they include depressed mood; loss of pleasure; feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness; thoughts of death or suicide or thoughts or hurting someone else. Causes of PPD include; a history of depression before becoming pregnant, or during pregnancy, age at the time of pregnancy, the number of children such person have before giving birth to another, limited social support.

A Case study carried out by Philip J. Resnick looks into a 27-year-old woman, named Mrs. Jones, who is seen at her 6-week postpartum obstetrics appointment and has brought her infant daughter with her. Tells the clinic nurse that although she is feeling well physically, she has been feeling ‘overwhelmed’ by caring for her infant and does not have the assistance at home from her mother that she had anticipated. She is having feelings of intense guilt about not being ready to return to work and also feels inadequate as a mother. The worries began one week after coming home from the hospital. After further questioning, she relates that she has been feeling sad most of the time, has low energy and psychomotor retardation. She is having Difficulty sleeping, even when the baby is asleep. She worries that she will need to be up soon to breastfeed. She has not been eating appropriately – although she has been trying to do so for the baby’s sake – she is unable to ‘force down much food.’ She reports no personal history of bipolar disorder or depression, nor any such family history. This could eventually lead to severe depression and subsequently become dangerous to herself and the baby.

Treatment procedures include; the main goal for the treatment of PPD is to decrease symptoms of depression and consequences of depression; therefore, infant exposure to both maternal depression and psychotropic medications is minimized. Also, since the clinician is to determine if the mother could be having suicidal thought in which case, the doctors are to manage her as a psychiatric inpatient.