To all wonderful women it is advisable to always tell your doctor if you experience symptoms of Postnatal Depression
By Mandy Nyama
Welcome to The MailOnline’s health column. On this week’s programme, as we are still honouring the bravery of our Women, in their Month, I am going to write about Post Natal Depression.
In reality new born babies bring joy to the family and the communities around. As others will be welcoming the new member in the family, the baby mama if not careful will be going through a phase of depression.
Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby.
It’s a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners.
According to a research done by MOHCC (2017) in Zimbabwe 30.5% of women suffer from post natal depression. Factors being intimate partner violence, history of childhood abuse, lack of social support, and having a female child as the first child.
Symptoms of postnatal depression
Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth.
This is often called the “baby blues” and is so common that it’s considered normal and must not last longer.
If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression.
Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth.
Signs and Symptoms:
A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
Trouble sleeping at night
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Withdrawing from contact with other people
Problems concentrating and making decisions.
Thinking about hurting your baby
Getting help for postnatal depression
It is advisable to seek medical help if one thinks is experiencing depression soon after giving birth
Do not struggle alone hoping that the problem will go away.
A range of help and support is available, including therapy
Depression is an illness like any other
It’s not your fault you’re depressed it can happen to anyone
Being depressed does not mean you’re a bad parent
It does not mean you’re going mad
The baby will not be taken away from you. Babies are taken away if the situation worsens
Treatments for postnatal depression
Postnatal depression can be lonely, distressing and frightening, but support and effective treatments are available.
Self-help – things you can try yourself include talking to your family and friends about your feelings and what they can do to help, making time for yourself to do things you enjoy, resting whenever you get the chance, getting as much sleep as you can at night, exercise and healthy eating
Psychological therapy like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may help
Antidepressants – these may be recommended if your depression is more severe or other treatments have not helped – your doctor can prescribe a medicine that’s safe to take while breastfeeding
What causes postnatal depression?
The cause of postnatal depression is not completely clear.
Some of the factors it has been associated with include:
a history of mental health problems, particularly depression, earlier in life
a history of mental health problems during pregnancy
having no close family or friends to support you
a poor relationship with your partner
recent stressful life events, such as a bereavement
Even if you do not have any of these symptoms, having a baby is a life-changing event that can sometimes trigger depression.
It often takes time to adapt to becoming a new parent. Looking after a small baby can be stressful and exhausting.
Can postnatal depression be prevented?
Maintaining as healthy a lifestyle can help
If you have a history of depression or mental health problems after childbirth, tell your Doctor so as to get advise and help
If you have had a mental health problem while pregnant, your doctor should arrange for you to be seen regularly in the first few weeks after birth.
Myths about postnatal depression
Postnatal depression is less severe than other types of depression – in fact, it’s as serious as other types of depression
Postnatal depression is entirely caused by hormonal changes – it’s actually caused by many different factors
Postnatal depression will soon pass – unlike the “baby blues”, postnatal depression can persist for months if left untreated and in a minority of cases it can become a long-term problem.
To all wonderful women it is advisable to always tell your doctor if you experience symptoms of Postnatal Depression, or if you think you’re at risk for developing it. Doctors can detect the most vulnerable women early and prevent illness before it strikes. Save yourself and newborn baby as kids are a blessing from God.
Mandy Nyama is a professional healthcare worker. She holds a BTech in in Health and Social care and Public Health.
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