What is Postnatal Depression?

Postnatal depression (PND for short) is a type of depression that happens after having a baby. Depression can sometimes begin during pregnancy, but it would only be called postnatal depression if it continues after you have had your baby. Postnatal depression is very common and we know that between ten and fifteen women in every hundred who give birth will experience it. The true figure may be even higher as many women don’t seek help or tell others about their feelings.

How is post-natal depression different from “ordinary” depression?

The symptoms of PND are the same as any depression. They include feeling low in mood and losing interest in things that are normally enjoyable. The only difference is that these feelings normally start within the first three months after having a baby. It is also possible to have a postnatal depression that starts later, but if the symptoms begin more than a year after a woman has given birth then it is unlikely to be called postnatal depression. The good news is that like other forms of depression, postnatal depression responds well to treatment, and most women make a full recovery.

 

Possible causes and risk factors?

The cause of postnatal depression isn’t completely clear. Most experts think it’s the result of a combination of factors. These may include:

  • Depression during pregnancy
  • A difficult delivery
  • Lack of support at home
  • Relationship Worries
  • Money problems
  • Having no close family or friends around you
  • Physical health problems following the birth, such as urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control), or persistent pain from an episiotomy scar or forceps delivery

 

Even if you don’t have any of these problems and your pregnancy and labour is straightforward, having a baby can be a stressful and life-changing event that can sometimes trigger depression. People often assume they’ll naturally adapt to parenthood overnight. However, it can take months before you begin to cope with the pressures of being a new parent. This is true even for those who already have children. In addition, some babies are more difficult and demanding than others and don’t settle so easily.

 

This can lead to exhaustion and stress.