The emotional wellbeing of mothers is linked to the positive upbringing of children in the first several months of their lives. However, the physical, hormonal, and psychological changes that occur after labor can significantly undermine women’s well-being, with adverse symptoms preventing them from having a positive outlook on lives. Postpartum depression is a common disorder that may occur among women after giving birth, which is why it is essential to study it from the perspective of patient education.
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Postpartum or postnatal depression (PPD) refers to a mood disorder that can manifest in a large variety of symptoms and can range from one person to another. Depressive symptoms may start occurring after delivery and can interfere with the daily functioning of individuals (Sylven, Thomopoulos, Kollia, Jonsson, & Skalkidou, 2017). The range of negative feelings can have different manifestations, and, depending on their degree, require dedicated treatment.
PPD has been associated with negative health-relation behaviors and adverse health outcomes, including both developmental and psychological complications among infants, children, and adolescents (Gelaye, Rondon, Araya, & Williams, 2016). Social, emotional, and hormonal changes may have serious implications for both infant and maternal outcomes. In high-income countries, the prevalence of PPD in all sexes ranges between 7 and 15% while in low- and middle-income countries in varies between 19 and 25% (Gelaye et al., 2016). The difference in PPD rates among women is 10%, with 10% of women in high-income countries and 20% in middle- and low-income countries (Gelaye et al., 2016). This points to the fact that the economic well-being of people can determine whether or not they will experience PPD.
The signs and symptoms of PPD are more severe compared to ‘baby blues’ since they can interfere with parents’ ability to care for their infants. Symptoms usually develop several weeks after birth and manifest through excessive crying, extreme changes in mood, difficulties bonding with infants, the loss of appetite, anger or irritability, high rates of fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, feelings of shame or inadequacy, throughs or harming oneself or a baby, and many more (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2018). PPD can occur both because of physical changes and emotional issues because of their adverse influence on women’s health.
Complications and Diagnosis
For mothers, untreated PPD can turn into a chronic depressive disorder when untreated. Even in cases when the condition is addressed, women have higher risks of developing it in the future. Children can have emotional and behavioral problems, including eating and sleeping difficulties. For diagnosing PPD, psychiatrists implement depression screening and order blood tests to determine a hormonal imbalance. However, most diagnosis procedures rely on patient interviews and observations of their behavior.
Conclusion with PICOT Question
Since PPD is a common condition and can manifest in each person differently, it is imperative to educate patients about its occurrence and how it can be managed. For first-time mothers, educational interventions can be of benefit as becoming parents is a complex and stressful stage in people’s lives. Nurses can play defining roles in such interventions and develop positive relationships with first-time parents through providing support, guidance, and information necessary for preventing PPD occurrence. Based on this conclusion, it is possible to formulate a PICOT question for further research. It is concerned measuring the effectiveness of educational interventions for reducing PPD risks in first-time mothers:
For first-time mothers (P), does the use of education/teaching interventions (I), as compared to no education action (C), reduce the risk of postpartum depression (O), after five one-hour educational classes (T)?
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Gelaye, B., Rondon, M. B., Araya, R., & Williams, M. A. (2016). Epidemiology of maternal depression, risk factors, and child outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet. Psychiatry, 3(10), 973-982.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Postpartum depression. Web.
Sylven, S., Thomopoulos, T., Kollia, N., Jonsson, M., & Skalkidou, A. (2017). Correlates of postpartum depression in first time mothers without previous psychiatric contact. European Psychiatry, 40, 4-12.