Postpartum depression is a common psychiatric condition in women of the childbearing age. They are most likely to develop the disease within a year after childbirth (Selix and Goyal 897). This condition increases the risk of multiple mental health challenges comprising social and cognitive impairments (Claessens et al. 81). Problems negatively affect children in many ways. The highly prevalent postpartum depression in women of the childbearing age adversely affects children, but the implementation of preventive and treatment strategies can help curb the condition.
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Prevalence of Postpartum Depression
Many women are at an increased risk of developing this type of depression after childbirth. Women have an increased risk of developing postpartum depression by 50% compared to men with at least 10% of those between 18 and 39 years of age suffering from the disease (Claessens et al. 80). At least 75% of women who have had one or more depressive episodes in the past report of disease recurrence (Claessens et al. 80). The prevalence rates are high in the first six weeks after childbirth, posing a formidable challenge to both the women and members of their families (Mehta and Mehta 14). This women-specific condition, therefore, affects women of the childbearing age.
Effects of Maternal Depression on Children
Postpartum depression has negative consequences in children whose mothers have the illness. Children with depressed mothers are six times more likely to suffer from depression than those with non-depressed mothers (Rishel 1). Additionally, 41.5% of these children develop depression by age 16 compared to 12.5% of the non-depressed mothers (Rishel 1). That notwithstanding, postnatal depression compromises the ability of mothers to control interactions with their children due to withdrawal or intrusive symptoms (Mennen et al. 2088). Intrusive women display hostile behaviors. As a result, children start to experience feelings of anger, compelling them to turn away from their parents in order to internalize the anger and limit intrusiveness (Mennen et al. 2088). Moreover, mothers with depression are disengaged, affectively flat, and unwilling to offer appropriate support to the behavioral activities of their children. These manifestations force their children to develop withdrawal symptoms.
Prevention and Treatment of Postpartum Depression
Postnatal depression should target both the mother and the child because of the effects this disease has on the two. Rishel further reiterates that when developing and implementing the prevention and treatment interventions, health professionals should target the mother-child unit (3). Workplace modifications in both national and state policies to support women and reduce the risk for the development of the disease should be upheld because workplaces are stressful (Selix and Goyal 897). Moreover, proper perinatal care should be provided to address psychological stresses and many other problems that increase the risk of postpartum depression. Postnatal treatment should incorporate Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in women who already have the disease to enhance the treatment of both the women and their children (Rishel 4). This treatment modality targets the mother-child unit by providing both play and behavioral therapy techniques to educate the mother in establishing appropriate limits and improve mother-child relationships. Additionally, psychiatric management of the disease should be executed.
Postpartum depression is a prevalent mental health condition in women of childbearing age, which affects children. Although the prevalence is high during the first year after childbirth, it is higher during the first six weeks. Women suffering from the disease display symptoms of intrusiveness and anger, and together with reduced ability to moderate childhood interactions, children become victims of the disease. Children are more likely to develop depression if their parents suffer from the disease than those who have non-depressed parents. The social life of these children is further interfered with because of reactions to abnormal behaviors displayed by sick mothers. However, effective treatment that targets the mother-child unit can help curb the health challenge and the associated consequences.
Claessens, Amy, et al. “The Effects of Maternal Depression on Child Outcomes during the First Years of Formal Schooling.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly, vol. 32, 2015, pp. 80-93.
Mehta, Shubham, and Nidhi Mehta. “An Overview of Risk Factors Associated to Post-Partum Depression in Asia.” Mental Illness, vol. 6, no. 1, 2014, pp. 14-17.
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Mennen, Ferol E., et al. “The Effect of Maternal Depression on Young Children’s Progress in Treatment.” Journal of Child and Family Studies, vol. 24, no. 7, 2015, pp. 2088-2098.
Rishel, Carrie W. “Pathways to Prevention for Children of Depressed Mothers: A Review of the Literature and Recommendations for Practice.” Depression Research and Treatment, vol. 2012, 2012, pp. 1-12.
Selix, Nancy W., and Deepika Goyal. “Postpartum Depression among Working Women: A Call for Practice and Policy Change.” The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, vol. 11, no. 9, 2015, pp. 897-902.