Long Road

To Recovery

Post Natal

Babies need round the clock care and attention, it is natural for new parent’s to become extremely tired.Over half of new Mothers suffer from the “baby blues”.This normally passes within the first 10 days.If symptoms prolong, it is advisable to seek the advice and help from Health Professionals.

New Mothers can be afraid of admitting how they are feeling.It is important for them to realise that these thoughts and feelings do not mean they are bad Mothers or that they will harm the baby or themselves.No one will take the baby away.The aim of every Health Professional in treating Post Natal Depression, is to keep Mother and baby together

Experts say that one in seven women experience some level of depression in the first Three months following childbirth.Symptoms usually develop in the first four to six weeks after birth.PND can be a lonely, distressing, and frightening experience.The more common cases of PND go undiagnosed.The numbers of cases is highest amongst teenage Mums, but are equal amongst all ethnic groups.

Post Natal Depression is an illness, it does not mean Mother’s do not love and care for their baby.PND can happen to anyone, it is not the Mother’s fault, and neither is it due to hormone changes.The causes are not clear.Experts believe it can be the result of a number of factors, including

· The physical & emotional stress of looking after a baby
· Previous mental illness history, including depression
· Experience of depression or anxiety during pregnancy
· No support from family or friends
· Recent stressful event, death of someone close, loss of employment
· Poverty or poor living conditions
· Relationship break-up

Symptoms of Post Natal depression include

· Feeling sad and low, tearful, hopeless & worthless
· Irritable & angry
· Struggle to look after yourself and baby
· Depression & anxiety
· Feeling unable to cope & simple tasks are difficult to manage
· Insomnia & extreme fatigue
· Disturbed sleep & dreams
· Lack of concentration
· Lack of interest in sex
Feeling distressed, tearful & over-reacting to things
· Feeling guilty, thinking not a good mum & that everything is your fault
· Loss of confidence & feeling inadequate
· Hostile & avoiding other people

Post Natal Depression can affect how a new Mother feels about her baby.She can experience a wide range of emotions towards her baby

· Guilty that she does not feel as expected
· Fear she may not love the baby
· She does not feel close to the baby
· Difficulty working out what the baby is feeling or the baby’s needs
· May resent and blame baby for how she feels
· May worry that the baby is ill & not gaining enough weight, or that it might stop breathing
· May worry she might harm baby (cases are extremely rare)

Post-Partum (puerperal) Psychosis

Post-partum Psychosis, also called Puerperal Psychosis, is the most severe form of mental illness following childbirth.It most commonly occurs during the first few weeks of having a baby and affects one in every one thousand Mothers.Cases are most likely in women already experiencing mental health problems, such as Bipolar and Schizophrenia.As well as psychosis, symptoms include

· A high/manic mood
· Low mood
· Loss of appetite
· Insomnia

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following childbirth

If a woman has a difficult labour and painful delivery, where perhaps an unplanned caesarean section or emergency treatment were necessary, new Mothers can experience a form of PTSD, rather than PND.People can easily make a new mother feel that a baby is adequate compensation for the traumatic delivery.The impact of this attitude can result in new Mum’s feeling isolated and misunderstood.It is important for women to feel they can speak to their Health professionals and be taken seriously.

Diagnosing Post Natal depression

Health professionals will usually check for signs of depression in all women who have just given birth.New Mother’s must not think that having PND makes them bad mothers or incapable of looking after their baby.

If a Health Professional thinks, a woman might be suffering from PND; they will refer her to a Doctor for confirmation of diagnosis and suitable treatment.

Tests are not necessary, but sometimes a GP may request blood samples to rule out any physical reasons for the symptoms, such as underactive thyroid or anaemia.

Treatment of Post Natal Depression

The best treatment for each individual depends on a number of things, such as

· How severe the depression is
· Someone’s ability to function
· Previous mental health issues
· What is the current situation

Between the Doctor and new Mother, a decision on the right course of treatment is agreed.

The types of treatment for Post Natal Depression might include

· Support and advice
· Antidepressants
· Counselling
· Psychological treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Father’s and Post Natal depression

Experts can only officially diagnose Mothers with PND.However, recent studies suggest that Fathers can also experience depression after the birth of a child.Research suggests 1-4% of men experience depression during the first year of a new born.

The possible causes of depression in new fathers might include

· Being too young & unplanned
· The expense; unemployed and in poverty
· Increased responsibility
· Change in lifestyle
· Changed relationship with partner
· Lack of sleep
· Increased workload, both at home and employment
· If Mum is depressed, this can increase the risk of depression in Fathers