What is Postnatal Depression?

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Postnatal depression (PND) is one of the most common and disabling maternal medical complications due to its symptoms in the mother, as well as for its consequences on maternal functions like feeding, nurture, and emotional bonding. One in ten mothers will have postnatal depression during the first year of life of their newborn child.

Postnatal depression explained in first person

Professionals and patients explain how you live with the disease
50% of women with postpartum depression will be completely better within a year. Although there is a percentage of women who continue to have some chronic symptoms of depression, especially if they have not received proper treatment.
It’s key, it’s key. A woman with postpartum depression shouldn’t go without treatment.

Postnatal Depression (PND) is one of the most common maternal illnesses, which can appear weeks after the birth or during the first 12 months after delivery. It is characterised by the presence of a persistent state of sadness, loss of interest and of looking forward to things, desires to cry, decrease in energy, changes in appetite and sleep pattern and feelings of blame for not being a good mother. This state is accompanied by a marked anxiety, which affect the maternal functions of self-care, breastfeeding, bonding and nurture.

Classification of the Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression, despite having been described centuries ago, has had little interest for the scientific community until about the 1980’s. In the current classifications it is described as a major depressive episode of onset in the perinatal period (the period immediately before, during, or immediately after delivery).

In order to be classified as a depressive state of a major depressive episode it must meet some clinical criteria. such as a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest during most of the day for 15 days and be accompanied by at least five symptoms: changes in sleep pattern, feelings of blame, difficulties in concentration, ideas of death, and impairment of performance.

How many people are affected by Postnatal Depression?

It is estimated that one in every 10 mothers will have a depression. This figure is confirmed in different countries and cultures. The onset of postnatal depression varies, and is not always in the weeks following the birth. The period of greater risk is especially during the first weeks and up to the first three months after giving birth. Around 25% of mothers may already have started a depressive episode in the third trimester of the pregnancy, whereas around 20% develop the symptoms after the sixth week of the delivery.

Substantiated information by:

Alba Roca
Anna Torres Giménez
Lluïsa García Esteve
Susana Andrés Perpiñá

Published: 7 May 2019
Updated: 19 October 2023

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