Postnatal Depression

November 12, 2012

Postnatal Depression

The sudden chemical and hormonal changes that occur after pregnancy can have significant impact on your physical appearance and mood. The ‘baby blues’ during the initial weeks after childbirth are also known as postnatal depression.


Common symptoms of postnatal depression include:

  • Irrational and extreme emotions
  • Uncontrollable crying for unknown reasons
  • Feeling touchy and anxious
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of interest in everything around you including the baby
  • Loss of appetite

The symptoms usually last for a few days. The condition commonly affects one in ten women. The frequency is higher in teenage mother with 40 percent of them being affected by the condition. The symptoms usually begin two to eight weeks after the birth, although it can happen anytime during the first year.


If you are experiencing postnatal depression, do not feel guilty about it. It does not indicate that you are a bad mother. It is an illness which requires treatment and help. Talk to family members and friends about it. You may talk to your doctor as well, who may help diagnose the condition. Common treatment techniques include:

  • Counseling and psychotherapy may help treat mild conditions.
  • Severe cases may require antidepressants. Let your doctor know if your breastfeeding. This will help them prescribe ideal and safe medications for them.
  • Many local organizations offer support groups to new mothers. Contact them. Meeting other mothers may help you. They will also give you parenting tips.
  • Avoid alcohol. It will not relax you. It will alter your mood, judgment, self-control and co-ordination. It may also interfere with certain anti-depressant medications you might be taking.

Puerperal psychosis

Puerperal psychosis is a severe form of postnatal depression that affects 1 in 1,000 mothers. The condition may require hospitalization, and may develop within hours of childbirth. The condition requires urgent medical attention. It is common in women who have a family history of mental illnesses. The recovery may require few weeks or months.

Postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder is a form of postnatal depression that may develop as a result painful labor, or problematic delivery. Women often have the fear of fear of dying during the delivery. The symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, insomnia and irritation. They may develop immediately after delivery, or after a few months. Cognitive behavioral therapy and medications may be used to treat the condition.


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