Puerperal (postpartum) depression

Pelvis | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Puerperal (postpartum) depression (Disease)


Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, typically after childbirth. Postpartum depression occurs in women after they have carried a child.

Symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the causes of PPD are not well understood. Many women recover with a treatment consisting of a support group or counseling.

Causes and Risk factors

The etiology of PPD is not well understood. It is sometimes assumed that postpartum depression is caused by a lack of vitamins. Other studies tend to show that more likely causes are the significant changes in a womans hormones during pregnancy.

Yet other studies have suggested there is no known correlation between hormones and postpartum mood disorders and hormonal treatment has not helped postpartum depression victims. Further, fathers, who are not undergoing profound hormonal changes, suffer PPD at relatively high rates.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment and recovery time vary, depending on the severity of the depression and individual needs. Counseling may help to talk through the concerns with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional. Antidepressants are a proven treatment for postpartum depression. Estrogen replacement may help counteract the rapid drop in estrogen that accompanies childbirth, which may ease the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression in some women. ...