Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum Depression

By | May 2011
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Having a baby should be one of the happiest and most important events in a woman's life. However, although life with a new baby can be both thrilling and rewarding, it can also be a difficult and quite stressful task. Most women make the transition without great difficulty, yet some women experience considerable complexity that may manifest itself as a postpartum psychiatric disorder. Many physical and emotional changes can occur to a woman during the time of her pregnancy as well as following the birth of her child. These particular changes can leave a new mother feeling sad, anxious, afraid and confused (Nami.org).

For many women, these feelings; which are known as baby blues, go away fairly quickly. But when they do not go away or rather they get worse, a woman may be experiencing the effects of postpartum depression (PPD). This is a serious condition that describes a range of physical and emotional changes and that requires prompt treatment from a health care provider. According to Mauthner, (1999) postpartum depression occurs when women are unable to experience, express and validate their feelings and needs within supportive, accepting and non-judgmental interpersonal relationships and cultural contexts.

Postpartum depression is defined as a mild to moderate mood disturbance occurring between birth and six months post birth, rather than the less frequent, more severe postpartum psychosis, or the more prevalent but transient blues (Crokenberg & Leerkes, 2003). The postpartum period is unique in the development of mental illness. As stated by O'hara & Zekoski (1988), approximately 10% to 30% of mothers report clinical levels of depression during the postpartum period. Although the current literature divides the spectrum of postpartum mood disorders into three distinct categories, these classifications frequently blend at the margins. At the mildest end of the spectrum is the 'maternity blues' or 'baby blues.' Because this condition arises after 40% to 85%...
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