Postnatal or postpartum depression (PPD) is a subtype of depression which is experienced by women within the first half a year after giving birth. This state is rather severe since it impacts not only the women’s state of health but also the relationships within the family and the welfare of the baby. Many researchers have dedicated their studies to finding out the causes of this state and suggesting the solutions for it.
Social support aspects
According to the research, the percentage of women suffering from PPD varies between 10% and 20% (Xie et al. 637). The causes of PPD are ambiguous, but the professionals have managed to determine some of the risk factors leading to this state. The risk factors include psychological and perinatal stressors and socio-cultural, economic, and demographic circumstances (Xie et al. 637). The researchers remark that the absence or presence of psychological support is a crucial factor in PPD development. Strong social connections help the women to cope with postnatal depression, while the shortage of family’s assistance inevitably leads to PPD (Xie et al. 637).
The scholars identify three aspects of social support: objective and subjective support and availability of support. Objective aspect is concerned with the practical help from the government. Subjective element involves the extent to which a person is happy about the understanding and assistance from the close people. Availability of support refers to the efficiency of dealing with the new life circumstances (Xie et al. 637). Additionally, there are studies investigating the impact of antenatal risks on PPD. Apart from the social support factors, prenatal aspects leading to PPD include biological and obstetric issues and socio-economic reasons (Milgrom et al. 148).
Connection between PPD and personal factors
Some researchers seek to determine the connection between PPD and personal factors, such as woman’s breastfeeding status, childbirth method, depression history, or tobacco consumption (McCoy et al. 193). According to the study by McCoy et al., women who breastfeed their babies have a lower level of PPD than those who do not breastfeed (McCoy et al. 194). Women with previous depression history and cigarette smoking dependence have a higher risk of having PPD (McCoy et al. 194). There has not been noted any significant difference between the influence of cesarean section or vaginal birth (McCoy et al. 194). Thus, the researchers suggest that these factors should be checked by doctors in their postpartum patients. Such measures would allow to eliminate the negative impact of PPD on the woman and the infant.
PPD experienced by women in low-income countries
Although general risk factors are similar among all women, the females from low-income countries are reported to have more dramatic issues leading to PPD. They usually have a history of psychological disturbance during pregnancy, their marital relationships are in a worse state than those of women from developed countries, and they experience poor social support and often have psychopathology history (Husain et al. 197). Therefore, low-income countries need thorough intervention programs to reduce the risks of PPD and to lower other adverse effects on the women and the infants.
Postnatal or postpartum depression is a severe syndrome hindering the welfare of the newborn and the mother. Risk factors of PPD are mostly concerned with the social support aspects, but personal issues, antenatal history, and psychological impacts also play their role. The researchers are still working on identifying the causes of PPD and coming up with the practical solutions for this state.
Husain, Nadeem, et al. “Prevalence and Social Correlates of Postnatal Depression in a Low Income Country.” Archives of Women’s Mental Health, vol. 9, no. 4, 2006, pp. 197-202.
McCoy, Sarah J. Breese, et al. “Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression: A Retrospective Investigation at 4-Weeks Postnatal and a Review of the Literature.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 106, no. 4, 2006, pp. 193-198.
Milgrom, Jeannette, et al. “Antenatal Risk Factors for Postnatal Depression: A Large Prospective Study.” Journal of Affective Disorders, vol. 108, no. 1-2, 2008, pp. 147-157.
Xie, Ri-Hua, et al. “Prenatal Social Support, Postnatal Social Support, and Postpartum Depression.” Annals of Epidemiology, vol. 19, no. 9, 2009, pp. 637-643.