What is Postpartum Depression

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Having a child is an incredible event in a person’s life, representing a completely new chapter of responsibilities, stresses, joys, and challenges. But it is not the experience for every parent, unfortunately.

What is Postpartum Depression?

The transition from pregnant to new mother can be intense, accompanied by emotional and hormonal shifts, which can often manifest as postpartum depression. Experts suggest that the percentage of mothers that suffer from postpartum depression can be as high as 60%, although the severe cases, or those that extend into postpartum psychosis, are far rarer.

Symptoms

The primary symptoms of postpartum depression are psychological in nature. They include:

  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Sadness
  • Exhaustion
  • Frustration
  • A lack of interest in taking care of your child
  • Anxiety and stress

Postpartum depression looks very similar to regular depression, but the timing and duration are what links it to the act of childbirth. This is also not a condition that is only experienced by mothers. Fathers can also suffer from this health condition, and studies have shown that as much as 25% of new fathers experience some sort of postpartum depression symptom. For this reason, since the hormonal levels in father don’t change as drastically as they do in women following childbirth, there is still a great deal of mystery surrounding the precise chemical pathways that cause this depression.

Woman looking depressed, sitting on a chair

There are many other risk factors for the development of this type of depression, including low social support, previous miscarriage, smoking, single marital status, and a family history of depression, among others. Fortunately, there are also a number of proven remedies and preventative methods that can keep postpartum depression at bay, ensuring a happy life for you and your child!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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