Why many women succumb to postpartum depression

A recent World Health Organisation analysis showed that about 20 per cent of mothers in developing countries experience depression after childbirth.

Postpartum depression does not only affect mothers, but also 10 per cent of new fathers experience it, too.

The highest rates can be found three to six months after childbirth. 

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In severe cases, mothers' suffering from it might be so severe that the victims may even commit suicide.

The victim may sometimes not function properly, thus affecting a child's growth and development.

Among the major factors that lead to postpartum depression is being a teenage mother. Victims of teenage pregnancy tend to withdraw themselves from the society and society tends to make them feel bad about their situation.

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The age at the time of pregnancy may also lead to postpartum depression. The younger the mother, the higher the risk of falling into depression and vice-versa.

Marital conflicts can also lead to postpartum depression. Conflict makes one feel very restless and in turn may lead to depression.

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Some spouses forget to support their partners when in such a delicate position. Pressure on a new parent should be less. Make the environment peaceful for their partner. The first few months should be stress-free. It helps both the mother and the child.

Being a mother to multiple children such as twins, triplets or even more may also lead to depression. The more children a mother has, the more they are likely to fall into depression or be depressed in a subsequent pregnancy.

Being overwhelmed by the number of children makes some women wonder whether it is possible to raise them "the right way".  

Jendrix Wekesa, Maseno University

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World Health OrganisationDepressionPostpartum depression