Many women know of the physical discomforts of pregnancy, but they are still learning about the mental and emotional effects, like postpartum depression.
They might expect to feel a little moody or sad before, during and after pregnancy, but postpartum depression is not always a short-term occurrence or a little sadness here and there.
One recent study in London found that “more than a third of mothers experience depression before their child turns 12 years old, with the highest rates in the first year after birth.” The study calls it “parental depression,” but it seems that at least some of this can be considered postpartum depression for women.
A fifth of fathers suffer from this parental depression as well, and the depression was found to be caused by additional stressors added after having a baby, as well as a younger age of parents and those with a history of depression.
The fact that mothers have a higher rate of depression than fathers most likely demonstrates a biological aspect, though the study didn’t say that. High rates occurring in the first year after birth also point to postpartum depression.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there is a difference between “baby blues” and postpartum depression. Baby blues happen “about 2 to 3 days after birth,” and symptoms are usually some depression and anxiety, crying, and sleeping, eating and decision troubles.
Postpartum depression usually starts around one to three weeks after birth and has the usual symptoms of other types of depression.
Postpartum Support International’s website stated that around 15 percent of women “experience significant depression following childbirth,” and this can start anytime during the first year after childbirth.
Diane Sanford, a psychologist in Missouri and author of the book “Life Will Never Be The Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide,” said that postpartum depression lasts during the “first year following childbirth.”
“However…up to 50 percent of women go untreated or undertreated,” Sanford said.