Post Natal Depression - Types Of Depression

This series of articles will give a brief overview of the different types of depression, this article will focus on Post Natal Depression. If you are looking for a definition of a specific type of depression that is not Post Natal Depression click one of the links below.

Bi Polar Depression
Cyclothymic Disorder
Dysthemia Disorder
Major Depression Disorder
Winter Depression

Post Natal Depression or its medical name Post Partum Depression is experience by between 5% to 20% of new mothers. It usually strikes within the first year after the birth and usually the first few months. Studies indicate that less that 20% of women affected by Post Natal Depression will seek help.

Symptoms of Post Natal Depression include insomnia, sadness, increased or decreased appetite,  fatigue and exhaustion, reduction in sex drive, episodes or crying, anxiety, irritability, feelings of being overwelmed, social withdrawl, and even feeling inadequate or unable to meeting the responsibilities to care for the new born . Note, carrying and delivering a baby will create hormonal imbalances which can also trigger some of the above symptoms. Also, the demands of a new arrival in the house often dictate life will revolve around the new born, problems such as colic, frequent feeding, as so on can create stress which is increased through a lack of sleep further exasperating the above symptoms. Often some assistance is required so the new Mother can obtain adequate sleep for a few days.

Fortunately Post Natal Depression is usually not as life changing as other forms of depression and usually only lasted for a short time from a few hours and upto a few weeks.

Some of the risk factors associated with Post Natal Depression are listed below;
  • The rapid hormonal imbalances associated with pregnancy, birth and lactation
  • Prolonged or complicated labour
  • Physical exhaustion from broken sleep
  • Lack of support, both emotional and practical
  • Loss of independence
  • Financial pressures (perhaps associated with the removal from the workforce to start a family)
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • A history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (this is another name for seriously debilitating premenstrual syndrome)
  • Formula feeding rather than breast feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  •  Low self esteem
  • Prenatal depression during pregnancy
  • Prenatal anxiety
  • Low levels of support from friends and family
  • Poor marital relationship or single parent
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy

Although unproven some experts suspect that good nutrition during pregnancy will assit not only the health and development of the baby but the mothers mental health during and after pregnancy. It is believed that the Omega-3 fatty acids are redirected to the development of the fetus  during pregnancy and this imbalance in the mother can then lead to Post Natal Depression. Omega -3 fatty acids can be commonkly found in some fish or can be more easily "topped up" in capsule form as a dietry supplement availble from most supermarkets.