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Study finds 1 in 5 new mothers experiences postpartum depression

Know the sobering reality behind new motherhood: one in five women grapple with postpartum depression, a condition often overlooked. Learn about the symptoms, challenges, and crucial steps to seek help and support.

Written By: Muskan Gupta @guptamuskan_ New Delhi Published on: May 12, 2024 17:05 IST
postpartum depression
Image Source : SOCIAL 1 in 5 new mothers experiences postpartum depression

As we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 12 this year, it's essential to acknowledge the complexities that accompany the journey to motherhood. While this chapter in life often brings immeasurable joy, for over 20% of mothers, it also introduces stress, anxiety, and postpartum depression. This condition, if left unaddressed, can have profound consequences for both the mother and child.

Postpartum depression is more than just the baby blues; it's a treatable medical condition that many women face after childbirth. While pinpointing its exact cause can be challenging, various factors contribute to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion. Genetics, hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, fatigue, and the pressures of motherhood all play a role in exacerbating this condition.

According to studies, approximately 22% of mothers experience postpartum depression within two weeks of delivery. Dr. Saurabh Mehrotra, Associate Director of Psychiatry at the Institute of Neurosciences, Medanta, Gurugram, emphasises that the journey to parenthood presents couples with numerous challenges, which can profoundly impact their emotional well-being.

“The journey to parenthood presents couples with a myriad of challenges, often impacting their emotional well-being profoundly. The complexities surrounding late pregnancies, assisted conception methods like IVF, and the burden of preterm deliveries weigh heavily on maternal mental health,” Dr Saurabh Mehrotra told IANS.

Maternal mental illness during pregnancy is also correlated with adverse outcomes for both mother and child, including preterm delivery and poor neurodevelopment. “At Medanta, we witness approximately 70-80 percent of mothers having post-partum blues out of which 20 percent of mothers with postpartum depression grapple with such mental health challenges, emphasising the critical need for comprehensive emotional support and holistic care throughout the perinatal period,” Dr Saurabh added.

Recognising the symptoms of postpartum depression is crucial. Insomnia, loss of appetite, intense irritability, and difficulty bonding with the baby are common signs. Seeking help is paramount for mothers facing these challenges, as it can facilitate bonding with the baby and pave the way for effective treatment.

Dr. Teji Dawane, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals, Whitefield, Bengaluru, stresses the importance of early detection through screenings during prenatal and postnatal care. Additionally, seeking professional support services such as counselling and therapy can be instrumental in managing postpartum depression. In some cases, medication like antidepressants may be necessary to alleviate symptoms effectively.

Creating a supportive family environment and fostering self-care practices are equally essential for new parents. Motherhood should be a journey celebrated with love and support, and addressing postpartum depression is an integral part of ensuring the well-being of both mothers and their children. As we honour mothers on this special day, let us also commit to raising awareness and providing the necessary support systems to tackle postpartum depression head-on.

(with IANS inputs)

ALSO READ: Lack of sleep in children linked to risk of psychosis in adulthood: Study


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