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Essay on Postpartum Depression

Mothers have many experiences in the weeks and months after having a baby. These experiences are characterized by uncertainties and mixed reactions that come with childbearing. Among these experiences, one of them is depression. Postpartum depression is a common complication of childbirth that affects ten to fifteen percent of women worldwide (Warner et al., 1996).

Postpartum depression is described as an episode or group of non-psychotic depressive symptoms during the first twelve months of birth. Signs and symptoms include insomnia (inability to sleep), hypersomnia (sleeping a lot even when baby is awake), the extreme concern of baby, fatigue, irritability, sadness or excessive crying, diminished interest in all or most activities, and recurrent thoughts of death which may include thinking about or planning suicide (Patel et al., 2012). Postpartum depression must also be distinguished from postpartum blues, also known as “Baby blues.” Baby blues have similar symptoms to PPD but usually occur in three to five days and resolve in ten days. Suicide ideation is not present in postpartum blues (Buttner et al., 2012).

Every woman of childbearing age is at risk of developing PPD. The risk factors are categorized into two; biological and social risk factors.

Biological Factors

These are associated with hormonal changes and genetic factors. Women who have had a family history of depression and mental disorder are at high risk of developing PPD than women who do not have (Buttner, 2012). Women who have suffered bipolar are twenty-five to thirty percent at risk of developing depression. PPD may also be contributed by thyroid hormones produced by thyroid glands found at the base of the neck. Dysfunction of the hormones is a huge risk of PPD(Buttner,2012).

Social Factors

Women experiencing life stressors are at a high risk of developing postpartum depression. Lack of social support, increased financial burden, marital discord, single marital status, and child care stress can be associated with postpartum depression.

Effects of Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression negatively affects women and their children. It involves the relationship between mother and child, their well-being, and their behavioral, cognitive, motor, and physical development. Infants with depressed mothers show poor physical development than those from healthy mothers. Their heights are significantly lower than those of healthy mothers. These symptoms are likely to disappear after twelve months or when the depression is treated (Beck, 1998).

The mother-infant relationship is severely affected by postnatal depression.PPD mothers respond less to their children’s reactions and behaviors. A healthy mother will be touched and moved by a baby’s crying, responding by giving more active caregiving behaviors and smiling at them. In contrast, a PPD mother shows low or no interest in the child. This brings negative interaction between mother and child (Laurent and Ablow, 2013).

Future adverse outcomes on the child may be seen. Postpartum depression may affect the child’s emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development. The child is likely to be less interactive, have temper issues, be less sociable, and have less concentration and low self-esteem (Patel, 2012).

Remedies for postpartum depression

Postpartum depression should not be ignored; it should be attended to PPD mothers should be given treatment and also other interventions observed. Anti-depressants are found to be efficient in reducing depressive symptoms in a person. The reduction of the symptoms may, in turn, improve maternal care shown to the child (O’Hara and Mccabe,2013).

Therapies are also important in alleviating postpartum depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on mother-infant relationships, brief dynamic therapy that better understands internal conflicts, and interpersonal therapy that solves interpersonal disputes and grief (Kornaros,2020).


Postpartum depression is a condition that affects mother and child yet has not been taken seriously over the years. Many women ignore the symptoms, yet they bring adverse effects to their children. The depressive symptoms hinder the child’s healthy development, which in turn affects the child’s future. Measures should therefore be put in place to help and improve the conditions of new mothers. Education can also be a good approach to preventing postpartum depression by conducting screening and internet awareness. Social workers also need to engage in methods of finding solutions for postpartum depression.


Beck,C.T. (1998).The Effects of postpartum depression on child development: A met-anlysis.Archives of Psychriatric Nursing;Vol.12,No.1,pp. 12-20

Buttner, M.M., O’Hara M.W., Watson, D. (2012) The structure of women’s mood in early postpartum.Assesment;Vol.19,No.2,pp. 247-256

Kimmel,M.,Hess, E.,Roy P.S,(2015) Family History,not lack of medication use,is associated with the development of postpartum depression in high-risk sample.Archives of women’s mental health,Vol. 18,No.1,pp.113-121.

Kornaros,K.(2020) Treating postpartum emotional distress by a short-term psychodynamic infant-parent intervention integrated with Child Health Center Care.Department of Women’s and Children’s Health.

Laurent,H.K.,Ablow,J.C., (2013) A face a mother could love:Depression-related maternal neural responses to infant emotion faces.Social Neuroscience,Vol 8, No.3, pp.228-339.

O’Hara M.W,Mccabe J.E.(2013) Postpartum depression:Current status and future directions.Annual Review of Clinical Psychology,Vol. 9,No. 1, pp. 379-407.

Patel,M.,Bailey,R.K.,Jabeen,S.,Ali,S.,Barker,N.C.and Osiezagha,K(2012).Postpartum depression:a review.Journal of health care for the poor and undeserved,Vol. 23,No 2, pp. 534-542.

Postpartum depression – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Retrieved 1 February 2022, from

Warner,R.,Appleby,L.,Whitton,A.,(1996) International review of Psychiatry,Vol.8,No.1,pp.73-78.


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