What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth, which can affect both sexes. Symptoms may include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns. Onset is typically between one week and one month following childbirth.PPD can also negatively affect the newborn child.
While the exact cause of PPD is unclear, the cause is believed to be a combination of physical, emotional, and genetic factors. These may include factors such as hormonal changes and sleep deprivation. Risk factors include prior episodes of postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, a family history of depression, psychological stress, complications of childbirth, lack of support, or a drug use disorder. Diagnosis is based on a person's symptoms. While most women experience a brief period of worry or unhappiness after delivery, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and last over two weeks.
Postpartum depression affects roughly 15% of women after childbirth. Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers. Postpartum psychosis, a more severe form of postpartum mood disorder, occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1,000 women following childbirth. Postpartum psychosis is one of the leading causes of the murder of children less than one year of age, which occurs in about 8 per 100,000 births in the United States.