1 in 9 new mothers has postpartum depression.
Many women don’t share their feelings or symptoms for fear of appearing like a “bad mother”, and a lot of women feel guilty for not being the happy new mum they think they should be.
Any woman can become depressed during pregnancy, and often pre existing mental health conditions can be exacerbated in pregnancy, for example, worsened anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, to name a few.
During pregnancy, levels of estrogen and progesterone are at the highest they will ever be, and within 24hrs of delivery there is a sharp drop in these hormones as well as others including thyroid hormone. It is thought these changes may trigger some of the symptoms of depression.
Additional factors include the experience of labour, any unexpected issues during childbirth, lack of sleep, possible issues with breastfeeding, a total physical transformation of a woman’s body and the loss of the life you had pre baby, as well as the stress of change to home and work routines.
Postpartum depression is a serious health condition and it can be treated. It usually starts within one month of childbirth or even up to one year after.