Postpartum Depression

Mild depressive symptoms are common among women following the birth of a child. However if these feelings are severe, the woman may be suffering from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a form of major depression experienced by an estimated one in eight mothers. Effective treatments exist for this condition.

Postpartum depression ranges in severity from mild to severe. Severe cases may be diagnosed as postpartum psychosis, a rare disorder characterized by violent thoughts, delusions, and bizarre thinking. This illness became more well-known as the media followed the Andrea Yates case.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Causes of Postpartum Depression

Specific causes are not known, however certain factors are well-correlated with postpartum. The following factors may contribute: exhaustion from childcare, altered relationship within the family, loss of independence, family history of depressive disorders, hormonal disturbances following pregnancy, low income and financial stress or stress caused by work vs. home issues, and poor relationship with the child's father. Financially stable women in healthy marriages are affected least often.

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