Postpartum depression used to be an unknown mental health condition that afflicted new mothers, but now awareness is increasing and prevalence is estimated to be higher than ever before.
National Health Service Choices, a health website specific to the U.K., states that postnatal depression seems to be present in more mothers now, according to a survey conducted by 4Children, a national charity in the U.K. that helps children and families. The article states that “around 3 in 10 new mothers may experience the condition,” and other sources generally find 10 to 15 percent of new mothers have postpartum depression.
The survey had other interesting findings including that about 25 percent of mothers who experienced postnatal depression “still suffered from PND up to a year after their child was born.” More than half of the new mothers with this condition didn’t even seek professional help.
There are different reasons for mothers not seeking treatment, including not thinking it was “serious enough to warrant professional treatment” and “being too scared to tell someone, for fear of consequences.” The charity has many recommendations for how to address the problem of women not seeking treatment, including a focus on awareness by putting on a national campaign.
For people who don’t know about postpartum depression, especially women who are hoping to be mothers, are currently pregnant or are new mothers, it’s time to start learning the basics. The more you know about postpartum depression, the better equipped you are to seek help, if needed.
Postpartum depression is defined as a “moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth,” according to MedlinePlus. Postnatal depression can happen anytime “soon after delivery or up to a year later,” but it generally occurs three months after delivering a baby, the website stated.
Although postpartum depression is not specifically recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there is a small description of “postpartum onset specifier” that is similar to what most people consider postpartum depression.