Differentiating between typical mood swings and a major depressive disorder is not always easy. The “baby blues” may cause women to be upset, angry, sad, or anxious. Much like postpartum depression, these women will have trouble eating and sleeping. However, the “baby blues” are far less severe than postpartum depression (“Postpartum Depression.” Women’s). Women with depression will likely be extremely uninterested in their new child or pregnancy. They will also feel that they are not a good enough mother. Reassurance can sometimes help with this, but if the depression is severe, the women will likely not respond to support and encouragement. (Yonkers et. al., 962). The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale can be used to screen for postpartum depression. It consists of ten questions based on the behavior and thoughts of the patient and can be scored according to her response (Gabbe et.al., 573).
Postpartum depression is a depressed, anxious, and irritable mood that occurs following childbirth (Andrews-Fike). It affects approximately 10 to 15 percent of new mothers (Postpartum Depression Etiology). This is caused by drastic hormone fluctuation. Postpartum depression typically occurs several weeks after childbirth, but some mothers ...
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...ar disorder again. This is typically treated with mood stabilizers. (Yonkers et. al., 971-972).
Several factors may increase a woman’s risk of developing postpartum depression. There is a correlation between postpartum depression and past mental illness. Five out of eight women who once had postpartum depression developed depressive symptoms again. Zero out of eight women without a history of depression developed postpartum depression. In addition to mental health history, stressful life events put women at a higher risk for postpartum depression. Factors that do not play a role in postpartum depression include level of education, culture, the sex of the infant, decision to breastfeed, and whether or not the pregnancy was planned. It is vital that expectant mothers identify if they are at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression. (Gabbe et. al., 1255-1256).
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