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Just what causes postpartum depression?

Baby Care

Having a baby is one of the happiest times in life, but it can also be one of the saddest.

For most new mothers, the first several days after having a baby can be an emotional roller coaster ride. Thrilling moments of happiness and joy are abruptly interrupted by a plunge into moments of depressive symptoms including weeping, anxiety, anger, and sadness. These ‘baby blues’ usually peak in the first two to five days after delivery. In most women, such feelings go away as quickly as they come. Except sometimes they don’t go away.

According to Dr Edward Sang a Gynaecologic & Obstetrician, there’s no clear cause of post natal depression but in most cases it is associated with mental health problems especially depression in the past, lack of support from family or friends after delivery and a stressful event like bereavement among others.

He says while in some women it might take a while to manifest, in most cases it usually starts two weeks after delivery and within the first year after delivery.

“Post natal depression is more serious than baby blues. Baby blues occur in the first two weeks after delivery where the new mother is tearful and anxious. In Kenya currently, the cases are there but no statistics yet,” he adds. After confirming one has PPD, how can it be treated?

One of the key steps to healing from postpartum depression, Dr Sang says, is self-help. “When such feelings creep in, always talk to a close relative or friend and explain what it is you are going through. In addition to this, make time for yourself to do what you enjoy. Get enough time to rest and sleep and always eat healthy,” he further cautions. In some cases, counselling as well as putting a patient on antidepressant medication are other ways to treat postpartum depression

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