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Facts About Post Partum Depression

Jan 18, 2008
Post partum depression is a condition that manifests itself in women following the birth of a child. The most notable symptoms experienced by sufferers of post partum depression include sleeping disturbances, recurrent sadness, loss of appetite, loss of energy, hopelessness, frustration, exhaustion, guilt, low self esteem, social withdrawal, and many other negative experiences.

The key symptom contributing to the classification of this type of depression is feeling lack of affection for the new born baby. Experts contribute a variety of views regarding facts that you should know about post partum depression.

Risk Factors

Although much time and effort has been expended trying to unlock the secrets of this condition, no definitive single factor can be identified that in itself leads to post partum depression. Several issues have been singled out as important factors that contribute in part to the condition. These include prenatal depression, lack of self esteem, prenatal anxiety, and chronic conflict with a spouse.

Other known conditions that may contribute to the ailment might also include a perceived lack of social support, a history of depression within the family, low social status and even the fact that the pregnancy was not a planned event. As if this list of potential factors is not long enough, several other issues are known factors common to post partum depression sufferers. Additionally, mother's race, social class or sexual orientation have been noted conditions that are common to many sufferers.

The Evolutionary Hypothesis

Evolutionary theorists believe that post partum depression is an inherent and natural response by the human body. They state that it is the natural response of the parents, either human or non-human, to instinctively decide subconsciously when the potential benefits outweigh the liabilities of caring for the offspring. On that basis negative responses to the birth may subconsciously exist and as a result natural parental care will simply be reduced or totally terminated.

A practical example of this hypothesis in action may support that theory. Consider an instance where a mother may experience a lack of social support and is forced to manage the affects of these stressful events by herself. This eventually causes the mother to shift her energy to satisfy the demands of pure survival as an alternative to totally expending her energy into a new being that may be considered expendable in that over stressed mental state.

The mothers suffering post partum depression demonstrate a higher degree of negative emotions and lesser degree of positive emotions toward their children. Subconsciously their responses to child's needs are significantly negative.


When observed and diagnosed in the early stages, intervention can successfully treat and eliminate the condition. The prognosis for a complete recovery is good when professional assistance is sought and put into practice. A key component of the treatment involves educating the women about the causes and effects associated with post partum depression.

Support groups can be found in most large towns and cities where the self-help groups work in unison with the medical community to provide highly important social support. Women either pregnant or planning to become pregnant should be screened regularly by their health practitioners so that the early detection is possible. In Canada, the screening test is conducted by professional public health nurses.


In summary, post partum depression is treatable. Medical evaluation of women that are exhibiting some of the signs of the condition is a necessity. Early detection is key to successful treatment to realise short term as well as long term relief from the ailment. On positive diagnosis, it is commonly recommended that the suffering woman undergo cognitive behavioural therapy, medication, and maintain a healthy diet.

In many areas the health practitioners in co-operation with the mother, can determine a treatment plan. Although many of the symptoms are similar among most sufferers, the treatment plan needs to be specifically individualized for post partum depression.
The effects of this condition can promote highly undesirable subconscious activity. Recognizing the symptoms early and seeking professional assistance can save more that one life.
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