By Dr. BL Lim (guest contributor)
In a study published in March this year in JAMA Psychiatry, 1,396 of 10,000 mothers screened positively for postpartum depression on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). This study sponsored by the publicly funded National Institute of Mental Health in the US shows that depression after childbirth is a significant problem. Unfortunately, postpartum depression remains under-identified and under-treated. Some of the following are common myths about Postpartum Depression.
Myth #1 – Postpartum Depression (PPD) is the same as baby blues
Unlike baby blues that go away after a few days, postpartum depression lasts for weeks to months. The symptoms of PPD are the same as for a Major Depressive Episode.
Myth #2 – PPD is normal and it is okay to be sad after having a baby
(photo: Ed Yourdon)
Whilst changes in mood may be normal after birth, if they are prolonged or are affecting your ability to care for your child, you should seek medical attention. If left untreated, PPD can lead to:
1) Inconsistent and poor childcare
2) Avoidant or venting type of coping strategies with the child
3) Insecure attachment between mother and child (may result in anxiety and depression of the child in later life)
4) Risk and danger if the mother becomes agitated or suicidal with depression
Myth #3 – PPD occurs right after birth
(photo: Jere Keys)
It can occur right after birth or even up to a year later. Most of the time it occurs within three months.
Myth #4 – Treatment for PPD will prevent me from breastfeeding and harm my baby
Effective treatment is available for PPD. Antidepressants safe for pregnancy can be used to treat PPD after the risks and benefits have been discussed. Psychological therapy with techniques such as CBT is also useful.
It is unfortunate that PPD often goes unrecognized leading to tragedies. If you are suffering from it, seek help today as PPD can be treated!
By Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist in private practice from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, Gleneagles Medical Centre. Posted via www.MoneyMatters.sg, your guide on how to make more money, save smarter, invest intelligently, and enjoy your money like a pro. Click here to get our free report on what you must know about financial freedom.