Post Natal Depression (PND)

What is PND?

Many women experience mood swings after the birth of a baby. However, Postnatal Depression (PND) describes the more severe or prolonged symptoms of depression (clinical depression) that last more than a week or two and interfere with the ability to function on a daily basis with normal routines including caring for a baby.

 

Post Natal Depression (PND} is a mood disorder that can affect the mother and the father. “Antenatal” depression can occur during pregnancy. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may begin suddenly or appear gradually during the first year after giving birth. Women who have suffered from PND after the firth birth are at risk to suffer from it after subsequent births pregnancies.

Post Natal Depression rarely manifests as Melancholic Depression. Melancholic Depression has a distinct biological or genetic basis and is very rare.  Symptoms include slowed cognitive processes, poor concentration, agitation or slowing of physical movements in addition to the features listed below for the non-melancholic type of PND.

PND usually manifests symptoms of Non-Melancholic Depression, which is less severe.

The symptoms listed are presented here for educational purposes only and are not intended for self-diagnosis.

  • loss of enjoyment in usual pursuits
  • loss of self-esteem and confidence
  • loss of appetite and weight
  • broken sleep (irrespective of baby)
  • sense of hopelessness and being a failure
  • a wish not to be alive
  • frank suicidal thoughts or ideas
  • panic attacks
  • loss of libido
  • fears for baby’s or partner’s safety or wellbeing.

Degrees of PND

Baby blues – Baby blues is considered normal and it is estimated that 80% of women will exhibit signs of distress and mild depression.

These will usually disappear after a few days to a week. Generally baby blues do not required treatment and respond well to support from family and friends.  Baby blues is not considered to be PND.

It is a period of more responsibility, waking during the night, and can be very disruptive in general.

The additional stress on the father’s life can lead to depression unless the father is naturally predisposed to fatherhood and finds it is hardly any effort at all.

Special care should be taken to maintain health and fitness.